How Are Patients Reviewing Spine Surgeons Online? A Sentiment Analysis of Physician Review Website Written Comments

Justin E. Tang, Varun Arvind, Calista Dominy, Christopher A. White, Samuel K. Cho, Jun S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Study Design: A Sentiment Analysis of online reviews of spine surgeons. Objectives: Physician review websites have significant impact on a patient’s provider selection. Written reviews are subjective, but sentiment analysis through machine learning can quantitatively analyze these reviews. This study analyzes online written reviews of spine surgeons and reports biases associated with demographic factors and trends in words utilized. Methods: Online written and star-reviews of spine surgeons were obtained from A sentiment analysis package was used to analyze the written reviews. The relationship of demographic variables to these scores was analyzed with t-tests and word and bigram frequency analyses were performed. Additionally, a multiple regression analysis was performed on key terms. Results: 8357 reviews of 480 surgeons were analyzed. There was a significant difference between the means of sentiment analysis scores and star scores for both gender and age. Younger, male surgeons were rated more highly on average (P <.01). Word frequency analysis indicated that behavioral factors and pain were the main contributing factors to both the best and worst reviewed surgeons. Additionally, several clinically relevant words, when included in a review, affected the odds of a positive review. Conclusions: The best reviews laud surgeons for their ability to manage pain and for exhibiting positive bedside manner. However, the worst reviews primarily focus on pain and its management, as exhibited by the frequency and multivariate analysis. Pain is a clear contributing factor to reviews, thus emphasizing the importance of establishing proper pain expectations prior to any intervention.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • machine learning
  • patient reviews
  • patient satisfaction
  • sentiment analysis


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