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    The role of confirmation bias in online physician reviews

    Editor's Note: Welcome to Medical Economics' blog section which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform.

    I had an interesting experience recently from two Yelp reviewers. One person gave me a one-star review because she got a bruise after Botox/Xeomin injection to reduce wrinkles in the forehead. Another left a one-star review because she was unhappy with her breast lift to correct very saggy (ptotic) breasts after massive weight loss.

    Obviously if I'm using these examples, then I believe they were unfair complaints. In the first example, a bruise is a very normal potential outcome after an injection. Luckily, they're temporary. And in the second example, the patient's results were so amazing we would have posted a before and after photo online if she would have allowed. Clearly there were other issues at play in the second example. Some issues can't be fixed with cosmetic surgery and I should have identified those issues before the operation. So that's on me. But to be clear, we make patients happy every day and within the Yelp realm, we still have 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 50 patient reviews.

    So what's my point? It's not simply that the customer is not always right. These two reviewers actually revealed an interesting thought process, in statistical and psychological terms, known as a confirmation bias.

    Next: The customer is not always right

     

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