Using Sentiment Analysis to Understand What Patients Are Saying About Hand Surgeons Online

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Physician review websites have influence on a patient’s selection of a provider. Written reviews are subjective and difficult to quantitatively analyze. Sentiment analysis of writing can quantitatively assess surgeon reviews to provide actionable feedback for surgeons to improve practice. The objective of this study is to quantitatively analyze large subset of written reviews of hand surgeons using sentiment analysis and report unbiased trends in words used to describe the reviewed surgeons and biases associated with surgeon demographic factors. Methods: Online written and star-rating reviews of hand surgeons were obtained from and A sentiment analysis package was used to calculate compound scores of all reviews. Mann-Whitney U tests were performed to determine the relationship between demographic variables and average sentiment score of written reviews. Positive and negative word and word-pair frequency analysis was also performed. Results: A total of 786 hand surgeons’ reviews were analyzed. Analysis showed a significant relationship between the sentiment scores and overall average star-rated reviews (r2 = 0.604, P ≤.01). There was no significant difference in review sentiment by provider sex; however, surgeons aged 50 years and younger had more positive reviews than older (P <.01). The most frequently used bigrams used to describe top-rated surgeons were associated with good bedside manner and efficient pain management, whereas those with the worst reviews are often characterized as rude and unable to relieve pain. Conclusions: This study provides insight into both demographic and behavioral factors contributing to positive reviews and reinforces the importance of pain expectation management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-860
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • anatomy
  • diagnosis
  • hand
  • hand therapy
  • outcomes
  • pain
  • pain management
  • research and health outcomes
  • specialty
  • surgery


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