Thursday, August 28, 2014

Healthgrades manipulating star ratings so that physicians don't turn against them?

I did a random vanity search on Google today, searching for "alex mohseni", and noticed something unusual in the search results:

I knew that, in fact, I had a "4/5" rating on Healthgrades, *not* a "5/5" rating as it was showing me. I'll explain the absurdity of these sort of random online scoring systems for physicians on another post. For now, I was curious to know why the stars were showing 5/5, instead of 4/5. I clicked on the link, and sure enough, my aggregate score was 4/5, not 5/5. I then noticed that I had done my search while logged in to Google.

I logged out of Google and performed the same exact search, and here's what the Healthgrades result looked like:

Note that there are now 4/5 stars, not 5/5 stars, the only difference being that I signed out of Google. So, Healthgrades (or Google?) was actively manipulating the stars to look very favorable when it knew that a physician was looking him/herself up. 

Why would Healthgrades do this? You would have to ask them, but I think it's because they know how absurd their system is -- a system which allows any random person, even people who have never seen the doctor, to write any sort of review positive or scathing. I think they are trying to hide their broken system from physicians as much as possible. If I'm wrong, somebody please correct me or comment.

Anybody else notice this? How does this look when non-physicians log into Google and search?

Update: It turns out that when I am logged in, all physicians' scores seem to be 5 stars, not just my own.

1 comment:

Dayna said...

Dayna here from Healthgrades. Wanted to let you know that Healthgrades has no control over the review metrics Google elects to display in search results. No website has the ability to manipulate what Google displays on a by user basis, and any fluctuation observed in ratings is either the result of Google personalizing what it lists because the user is logged in, or because data has updated between refreshes of the search results page.

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