Comments being added to online star ratings

University of Iowa Health Care will strengthen its online reputation and transparency by adding the next phase of the Star Rating program. Beginning in August 2018, vetted patient comments will be added to outpatient provider profiles on the websites for UI Hospitals and Clinics and UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Outpatient providers include those who care for patients in a clinic setting.

Own your information

Information about care providers is already online, from insurance sites to HealthGrades, and from social media to Yelp. These perspectives are typically not vetted, not verified, and from a small sample. Prospective patients still see them, though. With our Star Ratings and comments on our official websites, we have the ability to build our own comprehensive online resource. This transparency should increase patient engagement and give us all extra impetus to continue to provide outstanding patient care.

It’s good for business

Since its inception in August 2017, providers with profiles that have star ratings have had a nearly 20 percent increase in clicks to make an appointment. This indicates that transparency is moving us in a positive direction.

It’s the right thing to do

We encourage our outpatient providers to participate and thank all of you who are committed to developing and maintaining a culture that focuses on safety and values transparency in communicating with our patients. We have a dedicated team that reviews every comment, alongside our system that automatically suppresses comments for things such as profanity, patient privacy, or critique of a diagnosis. If we didn’t catch something in this pre-screen process, providers also have the ability to appeal specific patient comments, which will go back to the review team.

How it works

Every month outpatient providers will receive an email that contains a hyperlink to the Comment Review Application. Within this application, providers can view all comments for the given month and the review team’s decision on posting for each comment received. These comments come directly from the “10 Medical Practice Care Provider” questions on the Press Ganey survey (review these questions). Outpatient providers are able to review each comment prior to it being posted and appeal any comment they feel should not be attributed to their profile.

See a sample screen shot of a provider profile with comments.


How long will the comments stay part of my profile?

The comments that will be published in August 2018 will date from March 1, 2018. The newest comments will be listed at the top, and all approved comments will remain on the provider’s profile.

How are negative reviews handled?

We have a robust committee and system compared to our peers nationwide to ensure that the reviews are vetted. The exclusion criteria includes:

  1. The comment discloses Protected Health Information (PHI) or risks patient privacy
  2. The comment is deemed scandalous by the committee
  3. The comment uses profane, derogatory, discriminatory, racist, or libelous language
  4. The comment is about another attending provider, resident, fellow, or nurse
  5. The comment discusses other episodes of care
  6. The comment is about another department or area
  7. The comment critiques the physician’s medical decision and diagnosis
  8. The comment only states “N/A,” includes random numbers or letters, or cannot otherwise be translated
  9. The comment is deemed inappropriate for posting by the committee

It’s important to note that negative reviews may appear. This is part of transparency, and we know that can be hard to accept. There is a learning opportunity in every piece of feedback.

Why would you allow negative comments to be published?

Consumers are used to an online review culture, and they realize that opinions and experiences are personal. If we practice excellence every time—and with each patient—the stars and comments will reflect that.

What is the minimum threshold of the number of comments before they appear?

Only one comment is needed to appear. Only comments beginning from March 1, 2018, will be posted.

Will comments still appear even if I don’t have stars?

No. In order for comments to appear, outpatient providers must have 30 or more returned surveys over the course of the past 12 months. If the number of returned surveys dips below 30, both the stars and comments will be withdrawn from view until the number for surveys once again reaches 30.

What if I don’t participate in comments?

Transparency is expected in the consumer-driven world we practice in. By participating outpatient providers support a patient-centered culture. If any outpatient provider chooses to opt-out, the following sentence will appear on their profile in the area where comments would normally appear:

“This provider does not have comments to share.”

Where do the comments come from?

The star ratings and patient comments are pulled from the “10 Medical Practice Care Provider” questions from the Press Ganey surveys that are sent to our verified patients. We are not soliciting comments via our websites or online provider profile pages.