Digital footprint of academic vascular surgeons in the Southern United States on physician rating websites: Cross-sectional evaluation study

Qi Yan, Katherine J. Jensen, Rose Thomas, Alyssa R. Field, Zheng Jiang, Christian Goei, Mark G. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The internet has become a popular platform for patients to obtain information and to review the health care providers they interact with. However, little is known about the digital footprint of vascular surgeons and their interactions with patients on social media. Objective: This study aims to understand the activity of academic vascular surgeons on physician rating websites. Methods: Information on attending vascular surgeons affiliated with vascular residency or with fellowships in the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery (SAVS) was collected from public sources. A listing of websites containing physician ratings was obtained via literature reviews and Google search. Open access websites with either qualitative or quantitative evaluations of vascular surgeons were included. Closed access websites were excluded. Ranking scores from each website were converted to a standard 5-point scale for comparison. Results: A total of 6238 quantitative and 967 qualitative reviews were written for 287 physicians (236 males, 82.2%) across 16 websites that met the inclusion criteria out of the 62 websites screened. The surgeons affiliated with the integrated vascular residency and vascular fellowship programs in SAVS had a median of 8 (IQR 7-10) profiles across 16 websites, with only 1 surgeon having no web presence in any of the websites. The median number of quantitative ratings for each physician was 17 (IQR 6-34, range 1-137) and the median number of narrative reviews was 3 (IQR 2-6, range 1-28). Vitals, WebMD, and Healthgrades were the only 3 websites where over a quarter of the physicians were rated, and those rated had more than 5 ratings on average. The median score for the quantitative reviews was 4.4 (IQR 4.0-4.9). Most narrative reviews (758/967, 78.4%) were positive, but 20.2% (195/967) were considered negative; only 1.4% (14/967) were considered equivocal. No statistical difference was found in the number of quantitative reviews or in the overall average score in the physician ratings between physicians with social media profiles and those without social media profiles (departmental social media profile: median 23 vs 15, respectively, P=.22; personal social media profile: median 19 vs 14, respectively, P=.08). Conclusions: The representation of vascular surgeons on physician rating websites is varied, with the majority of the vascular surgeons represented only in half of the physician rating websites The number of quantitative and qualitative reviews for academic vascular surgeons is low. No vascular surgeon responded to any of the reviews. The activity of vascular surgeons in this area of social media is low and reflects only a small digital footprint that patients can reach and review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22975
JournalJMIR Cardio
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Internet
  • Patient experience
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Physician rating sites
  • Professional reviews
  • Quality of care
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Health Informatics


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