Patient sentiment report

An analysis of nearly 7 million patient reviews provide a snapshot of what consumers say about their doctors, as well as spotlights opportunities for physician practices, hospitals and health systems to serve patients more holistically and enhance these personal aspects of care.


Healthcare consumerism has compelled physician practices, hospitals and health systems to reorient their care models with patients at the center, as well as to offer the access, functionality, and convenience modern consumers expect. With this convergence, the healthcare industry is beginning to recognize the value that consumers place on access to easily accessible and transparent information and services.

In an unprecedented study, Healthgrades and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) have analyzed nearly 7 million patient reviews and comments submitted about providers by Healthgrades visitors, revealing the factors patients consistently cite as being most important to their overall experience with a provider.

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Patients want a meaningful connection with their provider.

While clinical outcomes are an important indicator of hospital and physician quality, the analysis shows that patients are increasingly seeking a holistic approach to their care, taking into consideration subjective factors when choosing their doctors.

Overall, patients cite compassion, comfort, patience, personality, staff, bedside manner, knowledge, time, insurance, appointments, and communication as important.

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There is slight variation in how patients assess their doctors based on their gender.

While there is not a significant difference in how patients rate their physician by gender, female patients rate their male doctors slightly more favorably than male patients rate their female doctors.

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Patients’ feedback about their doctors is overwhelmingly positive.

Many patients report feeling overwhelmed in their healthcare journey – navigating complex processes and payment systems. They may not be able to predict how changes and trends will affect them, but they do know how they feel when they talk to their doctor.

In the nearly 7 million submitted star ratings on Healthgrades, patient feedback about their doctor is overwhelmingly positive, and the average star rating for a doctor is 4-stars.

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Patients value the time they spend with their provider over a number of other factors.

In both positive and negative open-comment reviews, patients place top importance on the time a provider spent with them, particularly answering questions, listening to concerns, and making sure patients fully understood their condition or procedure.

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Quality healthcare is a team effort.

Of the attributes most commonly mentioned in a review, the topic cited most frequently in both a positive or negative review is the interaction that the patient has with a doctor’s staff.

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For patients

Consumers continue to embrace transparency in healthcare and are a driving force in the changes taking place across the industry. They may mistakenly assume all doctors have the same training and experience, but in truth, physician experience and hospital quality can vary widely.

For providers

Without a doubt, physicians are under increasing pressure in today’s healthcare environment. In day-to-day practice, a focus on clinical quality and patient outcomes is undoubtedly the highest priority for providers in order to deliver the best possible care. Providers who understand this are more likely to have happier patients – and more of them – who in turn become healthier patients.

For practices

Every member on a medical practice’s team contributes to a positive physician-patient relationship. Practices will achieve desired outcomes though a comprehensive approach to clinical quality and business leadership.

For health systems

In the same way health systems use outcomes data to improve clinical quality, they can use this analysis of patient sentiment analysis to understand what consumers are looking for when it comes to a positive patient-physician relationship. There is an opportunity for health systems to support their physicians by providing the experience patients seek.

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Healthgrades analyzed data from patient experience surveys submitted by Healthgrades users through the website for specific providers. This dataset includes more than 6 million star ratings and 1 million open-comment reviews.

From a sample of 500,000 open-comment reviews from 43 markets, the Healthgrades data science team performed topic modeling through n-gram analysis to identify common sequences of n-consecutive words in a sentence. This allowed the team to highlight the factors most frequently mentioned in both positive and negative open-comment reviews.

The n-grams were aggregated into core themes which represent common areas of patient focus. Looking at the 100,000 most positive comments, the core themes of staff demeanor/attitude, overall comfort level experience by the patient, friendliness of the provider, caring attitude of the provider, and a sense of overall provider bedside manner were the most common. In a similar evaluation of the 100,000 most negative comments, themes were poor staff attitude, poor provider bedside manner, lack of response to phone calls/inquiries, and the amount of time spent/wasted in the office.

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As the nation’s No. 1 site for connecting patients and doctors, Healthgrades helps millions of people each month find the right provider. We empower healthcare consumers with comprehensive data about provider experience and hospital quality so they can make informed, confident decisions about their care.

Healthgrades provides a unique service to healthcare consumers, giving users access to both clinical experience data and personal feedback from real patients to create a well-rounded picture of quality care.

Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is the premier association for professionals who lead medical practice. Since 1926, through data, people, insights, and advocacy, MGMA empowers medical group practices to innovate and create meaningful change in healthcare. With a membership of more than 40,000 medical practice administrators, executives, and leaders, MGMA represents more than 12,500 organizations of all sizes, types, structures and specialties that deliver almost half of the healthcare in the United States.

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