Doctor Review Site - What is the Value of a ReviewMarch 11th, 2012 3 Min read Blog
Websites that feature doctor ratings are becoming increasingly common, but their value is debatable. A recent poll revealed that only 25 percent of parents believe that website doctor ratings are very important. In contrast, the poll revealed that 92 percent of the parents feel that it is very important for a doctor to accept their insurance. A convenient office location is another important factor for many people when selecting a doctor, and they may use the review sites to locate doctors in certain areas. Only five percent of the adults polled had ever posted reviews or ratings of doctors, and over half of those reviews were positive. Some adults reported their concerns about possible repercussions of posting negative comments about doctors. More than half of the parents in the survey believe that they can get more trustworthy evaluations of doctors by word-of-mouth than they can get from online reviews. While more people turn to the web to find solutions for problems and answers to questions every day, it is difficult to know how much influence those people receive from the information they get from various sites. Much of the information is conflicting and leaves searchers more confused than they were before. However, exaggeration and dishonesty are common problems, and most people know that they cannot rely on the unbiased truthfulness of reviews. People have vastly different opinions and tastes, and some patients may consider doctors less skilled even though they receive high ratings from the majority of reviewers. Skeptical people may wonder if the doctors ask their friends and family members to post glowing reports about them. Since there are no universal regulations for review sites, the potential for abuse of the site is great, and the perceived anonymity of users increases that potential. For instance, someone who dislikes a doctor could post a false, negative review about him or her. There is no way to guarantee that the people who post reviews about doctors or about anything else are being honest. Some of the review sites focus on which insurance carriers a doctor accepts, length of time patients normally wait to see the doctor and friendliness of a doctor's staff. While answers to those questions may be important, they do not reveal anything about a doctor's ability. The following doctor review sites provide varying amounts and types of information about doctors. RateMDs.com --RateMDs allows each reviewer to rate a doctor's staff, knowledge, punctuality and helpfulness. The site also encourages users to comment about their experiences during doctor visits. In addition, RateMDs reports on medical schools attended and graduation dates along with whether doctors accept new patients. Healthgrades -- The survey at Healthgrades has nine questions, and that provides for a more in-depth assessment. However, users do not have opportunities to make comments about their doctors. The site also reports information about doctors? education, languages spoken, insurance carriers accepted and awards received as well as data found on background checks. Vitals -- Eight questions on the Vitals site invite patients to rate doctors on ease of making appointments, promptness, staff courtesy, accuracy of diagnoses, bedside manner, time spent with them, follow-up and average waiting time. Patients can also write reviews to provide more details about their doctors. In addition, the site provides information about doctors' education, ages, affiliations, contributions to publications and research, specialties, languages spoken, insurance carriers accepted and years of experience. Review Doctors -- While the Review Doctors site does not provide much information about doctors, it has 14 questions for users to answer. The questions each have 10 choices, from excellent to horrible, from which patients can select answers. Patients may submit written reviews about the doctors as well, and user's names are required for posting reviews. Zoc Doc -- Zoc Doc allows searchers to seek doctors that accept specific insurance plans and gives them the opportunity to schedule appointments with participating doctors online. Healthcare Reviews -- Healthcare Reviews has five questions which evaluate wait times, helpfulness, knowledge, cost and overall rating. Patients may include comments with their reviews. Yelp -- You can now find doctor reviews on Yelp. The reviews are much like those of restaurants and the like, consisting of comments and ratings of between one and five stars. A search of the review sites online reveals that only a very small percentage of most doctors' patients post reviews. Therefore, doctors should not be overly concerned about losing patients or failing to gain new patients due to negative reviews. The future may bring more reliability to the review sites, but until users can believe in their trustworthiness, word-of-mouth will doubtless continue to be a more reliable method of choosing a doctor.