Radiologists' online identities: What patients find when they search radiologists by name

Arvind Vijayasarathi, Thomas W Loehfelm, Richard Duszak, C. Matthew Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Patients are increasingly seeking online information regarding their health and their health care providers. Concurrently, more patients are accessing their electronic medical records, including their radiology reports, via online portals. Thus, this study aims to characterize what patients fnd when they search for radiologists online. MATERIALS AND METHODS. All Medicare-participating U.S. radiologists were identifed using the Physician Compare National Downloadable File dataset obtained from the Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services (CMS). Using a custom application, the top 10 Google search results for each radiologist in the national dataset were retrieved, and 90.5% of website domains with more than one occurrence were categorized as follows: physician or institution controlled, third party-controlled physician information systems, social media, or other. Aggregate and subgroup analyses were performed. RESULTS. Of all U.S. health care providers recognized by CMS, 30,601 self-identifed as radiologists. There was at least one search result for 30,600 radiologists (99.997%), for a total of 305,795 websites. Of all the domains, 69.8% were third party-controlled physician information systems, 17.7% were physician or institution controlled, 1.0% were social media platforms, 2.1% were other, and 9.5% were not classifed. Nine of the top 10 most commonly encountered domains were commercially controlled third-party physician information systems. CONCLUSION. Most U.S. radiologists lack self-controlled online content within the frst page of Google search results. Opportunities exist for individual radiologists, radiology groups, academic departments, and professional societies to amend their online presence, control the content patients discover, and improve the visibility of the feld at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-958
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Online presence
  • Patient outreach
  • Physician rating sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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