Many consumers depend on word of mouth and online reviews to make choices of healthcare providers. And, a recent study by Binary Fountain found that most Americans find online physician review sites to be reliable.
The study, which included 1,000 US adults, found that 95% of the respondents believed online ratings and reviews to be very reliable. Almost all of the millennial respondents – 97% - fell into the very reliable group. Additional findings included:
- 70% of respondents said that online ratings and reviews influenced their choice of a doctor.
- 41% checked online reviews of doctors even when another doctor made the referral.
- Interestingly, 34% went to hospital websites first to find ratings and reviews, 29% went to Google, 18% went to WebMD and 15% went to Healthgrades.
- 12% of respondents went to Facebook for reviews and 51% of respondents said they have shared reviews of doctors either online or on social media. 70% of millennials have shared in this manner.
- When asked what they were looking for in a physician, 48% of respondents said “a friendly and caring attitude” was highly important, 47% said the ability to answer all their questions was important and 45% said a thorough exam was important.
- 43% of respondents said that wait times were the most frustrating part of their experience, 10% said cost and payment, 10% said waiting for exam results and 9% said scheduling.
While this study found a high degree of reliability in online reviews among healthcare consumers, providers themselves seem to feel differently. In a study by PatientPop in May of this year, 90% of the providers surveyed expressed concern about negative feedback in online reviews. While 80% of those respondents considered their online reputation to be very important or extremely important, only 46% of them were planning to invest in resources to improve their online reputation in the coming year. A study from the Mayo Clinic found that negative physician reviews do not always paint an accurate picture of a doctor’s skills and are often affected by institutional factors that are beyond the control of an individual providers.
Does your organization use online physician reviews and ratings? If so, what is the feedback from your physicians?