Stuff the ballot box.
The value of these sites, previously exposed as pretty useless in this Slate piece, is mainly due to the anonymous nature of the comments.
Indeed, even if a doctor wanted to genuinely improve from this form of patient feedback, “posting anonymously on the Web (on sites a doctor does not regularly monitor) is probably the least effective way to accomplish that goal.”
So, physicians are fighting back by skewing the reviews (via Dr. RW) in their favor. A couple of good ideas: i ) Have patients fill out comment cards in the office that can later be posted on physician-ratings Websites; and, ii) Direct satisfied patients to these sites and encourage them to comment.
A doctor utilizing these techniques can skew their positive to negative comment ratio 50-to-1, so that, “The bad ones are totally ignored since they look so petty.”
The lack of regulation works both ways.