Impact of Surgeon Gender on Online Physician Reviews

Katie Marrero, Erika King, Abbey L. Fingeret

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The increasing use of review websites by consumers has become a crucial first step in choosing a physician with more than half of Americans consulting review sites before physician selection. We sought to identify whether differences exist in the quality and content of online reviews for men versus women surgeons. Methods: Using a deliberate sampling algorithm of the two most populated physician review websites, and, we purposefully sampled reviews for the top 20 surgeons per tercile from the four most populated urban areas in the United States: New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. A grounded theory qualitative assessment was performed of major and minor thematic elements including global rating, communication, technical skills, and comments on ancillary elements. Results: Four-hundred and thirty-one online patient reviews of 238 surgeons were identified from (51%) and (49%) with available information on gender for analysis. Seventy-six percent of reviews were of male surgeons. Reviewers were more likely to mention a global rating and technical skill for men compared with women surgeons. Most reviews were positive with no difference in global rating by gender (83.7% positive for men and 74.3% positive for women, P = 0.08). Women surgeons were more likely to have positive comments on social interactions as compared with men (94.7% versus 88.0%, P = 0.03); whereas men surgeons were more likely to have a positive rating on technical skill compared with women (88.2% versus 76.2%, P = 0.04). Conclusions: The content and quality of online surgeon reviews differ by gender. There is no difference in global rating between men and women. Women are rated higher for social interaction domains and men are rated higher on technical skill domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-515
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Gender
  • Online reputation
  • Patient opinions
  • Skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of Surgeon Gender on Online Physician Reviews'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this