How people value doctor reviews from patients
In recent years, online reviews became more and more popular. Reviews for medical providers are no exception. The importance and popularity of ratings for healthcare providers is growing in the US and across the world. Popular websites are Vitals, RateMDs and ProPublica.
Brookings.edu performed an experiment with 1000 Americans. They asked them to choose a doctor from hypothetical physician profiles with different ratings from governmental and commercial agencies on various aspects of medical care.
The Influence of Online Ratings on Commercial websites
The data revealed the relative importance of ratings on how individuals choose a doctor. Patients who seek a doctor value commercial website ratings as much as clinical ratings from the government. The importance of non-clinical ratings from commercial websites is even more prominent among female patients.
Patients check reviews when seeking doctors
A survey done by Software Advice showed that 72% of patients use online reviews as a first step in their search for a provider.
Key survey findings included:
• 82% of patients used online reviews to view or post reviews and ratings of physicians.
• 54% of patient’s report using online review sites “often” or “sometimes,” and 28% used them “rarely.”
• 19% use review sites to validate the physician they have chosen.
• 48% of patients would go outside the insurance network for a physician with positive reviews.
• 52% of patients report writing “very positive” or “somewhat positive” reviews, 11% wrote “neutral” reviews. And 7% wrote “very” or “somewhat negative” reviews.
• 65% of patients find it’s “very” or “moderately important” for physicians to respond to a negative review.
• 28% of patients think “patient rating scores” as the most important review information. This is followed by “quality of care” (26%) and “physician background” (24%).
• 24% of patients rated “staff friendliness” and “ease of scheduling appointments” as the most valuable administrative information on review sites. Followed by “information about wait times” (20%) and “office environment and cleanliness” (16%).
• 91% of patients are “moderately likely” to choose one similarly qualified doctor over another, based on positive reviews.
These results show the importance of medical practices to watch their online reviews. Providers should also recruit more reviews to attract and keep patients. Most people focus on positive reviews. So the reward surpasses the risk of occasional negative feedback.
Negative reviews from patients
Negative or fake reviews are of course a concern. However, this is not as common as doctors may think. Doctors can mitigate their negative reviews by