gms | German Medical Science

20. Jahrestagung des Deutschen Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V.

Deutsches Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V.

21. - 23.03.2019, Berlin

How many physicians are rated on Swiss physician rating websites?

Meeting Abstract

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  • Stuart McLennan - Universtität Basel, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, Basel, Schweiz

EbM und Digitale Transformation in der Medizin. 20. Jahrestagung des Deutschen Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin. Berlin, 21.-23.03.2019. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2019. Doc19ebmP-EG04-08

doi: 10.3205/19ebm073, urn:nbn:de:0183-19ebm0737

Published: March 20, 2019

© 2019 McLennan.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Background/research question: Physician rating websites (PRWs) are another sign of the growing digitalisation of the patient-health professional relationship and raise a number of important ethical and communication issues. International research has indicated that a key shortcoming of PRWs is insufficient ratings. However, there has been limited research conducted on PRWs in Switzerland to date. This study aims to examine the frequency of quantitative and qualitative ratings of Swiss PRWs. In particular, it aims to examine

the number of identifiable physicians on Swiss PRWs;
the proportion of physicians with ratings or comments on Swiss PRWs;
the average and maximum number of ratings or comments per physician on Swiss PRWs;
the average rating on Swiss PRWs;
the website visitor ranking positions of Swiss PRWs; and
to provide baseline results for future research in order to assess the development of Swiss PRWs.

Methods: In November 2017, a random stratified sample of 966 physicians was generated from the regions of Zürich and Geneva. Every selected physician was searched for on four rating websites (okdoc, docapp, medicosearch and google) between November 2017 and July 2018 and it was recorded whether the physician could be identified and the physician´s quantitative and qualitative ratings. In addition, Alexa Internet was used to examine visitors to PRWs, compared with other websites.

Results: Overall, the portion of physicians able to be identified on PRWs ranged from 42.4% on okdoc to 87.3% on docapp. Of the identifiable physicians, few of the selected physicians had been rated quantitatively (4.5% on docapp to 49.8% on google) or qualitatively (4.5% on docapp to 31.2% on google) at least once. Rated physicians also had on average a low number of quantitative (1.47 ratings on okdoc to 3.74 rating on google) and qualitative (1.23 comment on okdoc to 3.03 comments on google) ratings.

Conclusions: Google has had substantially more ratings than the three dedicated PRWs in Switzerland in recent years. Swiss RWs are not yet a reliable source of unbiased information regarding patient experiences.

Competing interests: Non to declare.