Paper ‘When Similarity Beats Expertise' published

Mirella Kleijnen and Peeter Verlegh published ‘When Similarity Beats Expertise' in the journal of Medical Internet Research together with Anne-Madeleine Kranzbühler and Marije Teerling.

07-08-2019 | 13:00

The authors of the article look into the use of web-based rating platforms when consumers are looking for advice on which health care provider to use. These platforms often provide ratings from other patients, reflecting their subjective experience. However, patients often lack the knowledge to be able to judge the objective quality of health services.

To account for this potential bias, many rating platforms complement patient ratings with more objective expert ratings. However, patients and experts are frequently in disagreement with each other, which is also reflected the ratings and as a consequence can lead to conflicting signals for consumers looking for information.

The authors found that it is important to consider the number of patient ratings provided on the platform. If the patient advice was based on small numbers, prospective patients tended to base their selection of a physician on expert rather than patient advice. However, when the group of patients substantially grew in size, prospective patients started to rely on patients rather than the expert.

These findings could imply an assumed “wisdom of the crowd effect”, however, the results also show that the respondents considered the patients to be less knowledgeable than experts. Their bias towards other patients is more likely to be driven by a bias toward the opinion of their peers.

Click here for the full article.