Can Random Chance Mislabel You “Jack the Ripper”?












Can a handful of patients make you look like Jack the Ripper on the Internet?

How many reviews do you REALLY need to overcome statistical noise?

No doctor can please every patient. But, if you’re doing great work, it should be reflected online. You WILL look great online if you’re doing great work and the majority of your patients are posting their feedback.

What if you just let nature take its course – and you’re defined by only a scant few – even when you see hundreds, if not thousands, of patients every year?

Random chance can make you look like Jack the Ripper.

To demonstrate, try the calculator below. The calculator assumes each doctor delivers the same quality as every other doctor. The only difference between doctors is based on random chance. Of course, that’s not true. But, it’s a necessary assumption to demonstrate the role random chance can play in producing a statistical problem on the Internet.

The model assumes:

  1. There are 100 practices. Each practice has same number of online reviews. A patient review is simply “satisfied” or “not satisfied.”
  2. The universal likelihood of a patient having a negative experience with a practice is 2%. 98% are satisfied.
  3. We’ve arbitrarily define a rotten practice (“outlier”) as 200% more dissatisfied than the norm. So, if the norm is 2/100 dissatisfied patients, then a rotten practice (“outlier”) would reflect 6/100 dissatisfied patients.

The fewer the number of reviews, the more likely chance alone can label your practice as rotten.  The greater the number of reviews, the more likely your online presence will reflect the actual work you are delivering.

Test it.

Change the number of reviews per doctor using the slider.

You can also recalculate new simulations to demonstrate statistical variability of how practices appear (satisfied versus outlier) online for a fixed number of reviews.

In sum, the fewer reviews you have, the more likely chance alone can label you as Jack the Ripper.

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