In today’s digital age, your online reputation is everything. With the rise of social media and online review platforms, it’s easier than ever for customers
Online Reviews: Are They Essential in Choosing Doctors?
Are you aware of online doctor rating sites? Are you or your patients using them to make informed decisions about health care providers? According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, two-thirds of the general public is aware of online physician rating sites. However, the number and quality of online doctor reviews is lacking. While one in five internet users has consulted online reviews and rankings of health care service providers and treatments, only three to four percent of them have posted a review of a treatment, hospital, or clinician.
Although online rating sites are gaining popularity, reviews are less important to patients than other factors. For instance, whether a doctor accepts their health insurance is “very important” to 89 percent of respondents, and a convenient office location is “very important” to 59 percent of respondents. Nevertheless, reviews can still influence the decision-making process of patients.
Doctor-rating sites have a significant impact on patient choices
Doctor-rating sites have the potential to influence what health care provider a patient chooses. 35 percent of those who sought ratings in the past year had chosen a doctor due to good ratings, and 37 percent had avoided a doctor because of bad ratings. However, reviews can dramatically skew results. The JAMA study found that only five percent of adults surveyed had ever posted ratings or reviews of doctors. This means that one disgruntled patient or glowing review can influence the results.
Healthgrades is the most commonly used site, with 43 percent of review users turning there first, followed by Yelp, with 34 percent of users starting their doctor searches there. The age of the patient matters too; Yelp was found to be the most used and perceived as the most trustworthy review site for those age 35 and under.
Parents under age 30 (44 percent) are more likely than parents 30 or older (21 percent) to think doctor-rating websites are very important. Doctor-rating sites can influence what health care provider a patient chooses. However, reviews are less important to patients than other factors, such as insurance acceptance and location convenience.
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