(HealthDay News) — Academic urologists have higher mean weighted ratings than their nonacademic peers, and those with increased patient load have poorer ratings, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Surgery.

Gregory P. Murphy, MD, from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of Medicare data on the 665 urologists in California in 2014. The number of reviews and mean score were obtained from 4 websites; urologists’ weighted ratings were compared and stratified by the number of patients seen, Medicare services billed, sex, and practice setting.

The researchers found that the mean total number of reviews in the 4 websites combined was 10, and at least one rating was found for 651 urologists. The mean weighted ratings were 4.2 and 3.7 for academic urologists and their nonacademic peers, respectively. The mean weighted ratings were similar for female and male urologists (3.9 vs 3.8). There was a significant trend toward higher ratings for urologists who saw fewer Medicare patients. In multivariable analyses, academic physicians had higher scores, while poorer ratings were seen for an increase in Medicare patient load. Ratings were lowered by 0.04 for every 100 patients seen. In univariable analysis, more services billed was associated with lower ratings; this was not significant in a multivariable model.

“More research is needed to determine what factors lead to more satisfied patients,” the authors write.

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Murphy GP, Awad MA, Tresh A, et al. Association of Patient Volume With Online Ratings of California Urologists. JAMA Surg. Published online March 21, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.0149