UAB Medicine uses a physician ratings and reviews system similar to what’s found on Amazon.com and many other websites, with star ratings and comments from patients about their office visit experiences. These ratings and reviews are included alongside individual physician profiles on the UAB Medicine physician directory, located at uabmedicine.org under the “Find a Provider” section. Below are some questions and answers to help patients better understand the ratings and reviews system, the motivations behind it, how star ratings are calculated, and why this information is not published for every UAB Medicine doctor.
Why are we publishing ratings and reviews?
In today’s environment of online ratings and reviews, we think it’s important to offer patients and potential patients an alternative to third-party physician ratings websites, which often contain inaccurate and/or outdated information. Publishing star ratings for physicians and relevant patient comments helps consumers make more educated decisions in choosing health care services, while reinforcing UAB Medicine’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and quality.
How are the data gathered?
The data supporting the star ratings are generated from surveys sent to UAB Medicine patients following outpatient office visits. The surveys gather quantitative and qualitative data about patients’ experiences with their physicians and the overall visit, and patients are encouraged to submit comments (anonymously) in their own words. The surveys are sent to patients from UAB Medicine vendor Medallia, which also compiles the data gathered from the surveys on behalf of UAB Medicine.
Who receives the surveys?
Most patients will receive a survey after each outpatient office visit, through text or email. To minimize confusion, patients will receive only 1 survey every 30 days, even if they are seen by more than one physician in the same day during a visit to an outpatient center such as The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital.
How many patients respond to the surveys?
On average, 7,000 surveys are completed each month.
How are the star ratings calculated?
Star ratings are calculated from the average “top box” score across the survey’s 5 questions that relate directly to the patient’s experience with the provider. The top box score reflects how often the provider received a 9 or 10 from patients on those survey questions. For example, if a physician received 100 completed surveys, and 90 patients rated the provider with a 9 or 10, the top box score would be 90. The star rating is then calculated by dividing the top box score by 20, to account for the five-star system, so a 90 top box score results in a 4.5-star rating.
Why aren’t ratings and reviews posted for every physician?
Ratings and reviews are only displayed for physicians who see patients in an outpatient clinic and have received at least 30 completed surveys during the previous 12 months. Drawing upon a range of patient responses helps ensure a more accurate rating of the physician.
How can patients complete a survey or submit a comment about a physician?
Surveys are not sent out on demand; they are only sent to patients after outpatient office visits. This helps ensure quality data by limiting the feedback to validated patients who had recent, direct contact with a particular provider. This is different than many physician ratings websites, which allow people to post comments about providers they’ve never seen or haven’t seen recently. Most patients will receive a survey, but patients may increase their odds of receiving one by making sure that UAB Medicine has their current mailing address, mobile phone number, and email address on file.
How is patient information protected?
Results from surveys submitted electronically are password-protected and stored on a secure server. Completed paper surveys are stored securely. Patient names – along with any private health information – are removed from all surveys before they are provided to the UAB Medicine staff who review patient comments and post them to the physician directory, where they are published anonymously. The surveys themselves inform patients that their comments may be posted anonymously.