Public reporting in Germany: the content of physician rating websites

Emmert M, Sander U, Esslinger AS, Maryschok M, Schöffski O (2012)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2012


Original Authors: Emmert M, Sander U, Esslinger AS, Maryschok M, Schöffski O

Publisher: Schattauer

Book Volume: 51

Pages Range: 112 - 120

Journal Issue: 2


DOI: 10.3414/ME11-01-0045



Physician rating websites (PRWs) are gaining in popularity among patients seeking quality information about physicians. However, little knowledge is available about the quantity and type of information provided on the websites.


To determine and structure the quantity and type of information about physicians in the outpatient sector provided on German-language physician rating websites.


In a first step, we identified PRWs through a systematic internet search using German keywords from a patient´s perspective in the two search engines Google and Yahoo. Afterwards, information about physicians available on the websites was collected and categorised according to Donabedian´s structure/process/outcome model. Furthermore, we investigated whether the information was related to the physician himself/ herself or to the practice as a whole.


In total, eight PRWs were detected. Our analysis turned up 139 different information items on eight websites; 67 are related to the structural quality, 4 to process quality, 5 to outcomes, and 63 to patient satisfaction/experience. In total, 37% of all items focus specifically on the physician and 63% on the physician’s practice. In terms of the total amount of information provided on the PRWs, results range from 61 down to 13.5 items.


A broad range of information is available on German PRWs. While structural information can give a detailed overview of the financial, technical and human resources of a practice, other outcome measures have to be interpreted with caution. Specifically, patient satisfaction results are not risk-adjusted, and thus, are not appropriate to represent a provider’s quality of care. Consequently, neither patients nor physicians should yet use the information provided to make their final decision for or against an individual physician.

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How to cite


Emmert, M., Sander, U., Esslinger, A.S., Maryschok, M., & Schöffski, O. (2012). Public reporting in Germany: the content of physician rating websites. Methods of Information in Medicine, 51(2), 112 - 120.


Emmert, Martin, et al. "Public reporting in Germany: the content of physician rating websites." Methods of Information in Medicine 51.2 (2012): 112 - 120.

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