Radiologists Should Own Online Presence

May 18, 2016

Radiologists don’t control their online presence, nor what patients may find about them, according to a study at ACR 2016.

Radiologists in the U.S. should amend their online presence in order to monitor the content patients can discover, according to a study presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers from Georgia and California aimed to characterize what patients may find when seeking information online about specific radiologists. The researchers used the Physician Compare National Downloadable File (PCNDF) dataset, obtained from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to identify all U.S. health care providers who indicated their primary specialty as diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, or nuclear medicine. The researchers then retrieved the top 10 Google search results for each radiologist in the national dataset and assessed their findings as a whole, and in subgroups, such as older, younger, academic, and nonacademic.

The results showed that 30,601 health care providers self-identified as radiologists. The researchers retrieved at least one search result for 30,600 radiologists (99.997%). They found that 85.2% of the domains were commercially controlled physician information systems; 12.1% were physician/institutional controlled, 1% were social media platforms, and 1.7% were “other.” Nine of the top 10 overall domains were commercially controlled physician information systems.

The researchers concluded that most radiologists in the U.S. did not control their own content and if individual radiologists, radiology groups, academic departments, and professional societies did gain control, they would have more say in what patients discovered about them and their specialty through online searches.