Physician rating websites have been gaining in importance in both practice and research. However, no evidence is available concerning patients' ratings of dentists on physician rating websites.
The aim of this study is to present a comprehensive analysis of the ratings of dentists on a German physician rating website over a 2-year period.
All dentist ratings on a German physician rating website (Jameda) from 2012 and 2013 were analyzed. The available dataset contained 76,456 ratings of 23,902 dentists from 72,758 patients. Additional information included the overall score and subscores for 5 mandatory questions, the medical specialty and gender of the dentists, and the age, gender, and health insurance status of the patients. Statistical analysis was conducted using the median test and the Kendall tau-b test.
During the study period, 44.57% (23,902/53,626) of all dentists in Germany were evaluated on the physician rating website, Jameda. The number of ratings rose from 28,843 in 2012 to 47,613 in 2013, representing an increase of 65.08%. In detail, 45.37% (10,845/23,902) of dentists were rated once, 43.41% (10,376/23,902) between 2 and 5 times, and 11.21% (2681/23,902) more than 6 times (mean 3.16, SD 5.57). Approximately 90% (21,324/23,902, 89.21%) of dentists received a very good or good overall rating, whereas only 3.02% (721/23,902) were rated with the lowest scores. Better ratings were given either by female or older patients, or by those covered by private health insurance. The best-rated specialty was pediatric dentistry; the lowest ratings were given to orthodontists. Finally, dentists were rated slightly lower in 2013 compared to 2012 (P=.01).
The rise in the number of ratings for dentists demonstrates the increasing popularity of physician rating websites and the need for information about health care providers. Future research should assess whether social media, especially Web-based ratings, are suitable in practice for patients and other stakeholders in health care (eg, insurance providers) to reflect the clinical quality of care.