An Empirical Examination of Factors Influencing the Intention to Use Physician Rating Websites

AbstractPhysician rating websites (PRWs) are social media platforms that enable patients to submit ratings and reviews of physicians. While numerous PRWs are available on the Internet and millions of physician reviews are posted on those websites, many people still do not use them when making clinical decisions. This study seeks to understand what factors impact intention to use PRWs. A sample of 109 students was employed. Each subject was randomly assigned to either RateMDs, Vitals, or Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s website. The subjects were asked to choose a primary care doctor based on the reviews posted on the assigned website and complete a survey accordingly. The regression analysis revealed that perceived credibility of reviewers and general use of online reviews influenced intention to use PRWs, whereas perceived integrity of website providers only moderated the relation between perceived credibility of reviewers and intention to use PRWs.

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