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© The Author(s) 2019. Objective: To provide a synthesis of the current evidence base of online patient feedback using a scoping review and a consultation of stakeholders in England, UK. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and the Social Science Citation Index and conducted hand searches up to January 2018. We included primary studies of internet-based reviews and other online feedback (e.g. social media and blogs) from patients, carers or the public about health care providers (individuals, services or organizations). Key findings were extracted and tabulated for further synthesis guided by the themes arising from a stakeholder consultation. Results: The review found that awareness and usage of online feedback is increasing. Most feedback is about physicians, and is typically positive. Online reviews and ratings are used by some service users to inform choice of provider or treatment while providers tend to be concerned about the validity and representativeness of feedback. Reviewed studies found that those who post feedback are generally not representative of the general population, tending to be younger and more educated, but online feedback does broadly correlate with some other measures of health care quality. Conclusions: In an increasingly digital society, where citizens provide and use feedback for a range of goods and services, online patient feedback can offer a convenient, low cost and widely accessible mechanism to capture experiences of health care, while being mindful to avoid issues of digital exclusion. This review provides important insights to inform policy development seeking to harness the opportunities offered by online feedback.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Health Services Research and Policy

Publication Date





122 - 129