Sometime last year, we shared with you the findings from a report that showed how online reviews have become patients’ first step to finding a new doctor.
Since then, it seems like doctor and physician reviews – posted by consumers on sites like Yelp and Healthgrades – continue to make an increasingly significant impact on people’s healthcare decisions.
In the new 2014 IndustryView Report by software research firm Software Advice, results show that the number of patients using online reviews to search for a doctor has jumped 68 percent from 2013 to 2014.
While usage varies – 24 percent say they use reviews “sometimes” or “often”, while 18 percent say they use reviews “rarely” – the impact of these reviews seems to have grown exponentially. Nearly half – or 44 percent – say that they will still consider going to a doctor that’s out of their network if the reviews are better than that of in-network doctors and physicians. This marks a huge jump from only 26 percent in 2013. Also, 85 percent of respondents are at least “moderately likely” to choose one doctor over another based on high ratings and positive reviews.
“Online patient-generated content is here to stay – so we might as well use it to make ourselves better doctors,” said Dr. Tara Lagu of Baystate Medical Center in an analysis. “I recommend physicians encourage their patients to leave reviews and regularly examine their digital footprint as part of maintaining their online reputation.”
According to the study, which took into account the responses of over 4,600 patients in the US, online review site Yelp has emerged as the most popular review site (27 percent) for finding a doctor, with Healthgrades and RateMDs tying for second at 26 percent. As far as trustworthiness of reviews is concerned, Yelp and Healthgrades ranked as patients’ most trusted site (26 percent) for online physician reviews.
Moreover, 61 percent monitor reviews before selecting a doctor, and 20 percent read reviews as a way of evaluating their current physicians. Only 19 percent, meanwhile, read online reviews after selecting a doctor.
For more information, check out some of the graphics from Software Advice’s latest report:
(Infographic: Software Advice)