More people than ever are shopping around and reading online reviews in order to find doctors and healthcare providers.
The reliance of patients – and families of patients – on online reviews has definitely surged, as demonstrated by doctor review site Vitals’ latest milestone of having collected 6 million healthcare provider reviews and ratings.
That’s more than any other site in the same category, according to the New Jersey-headquartered company, which launched in 2008.
Reliance on reviews
“Seven years ago, there was no one on the web collecting online reviews for doctors,” said Mitch Rothschild, Founder and Executive Chairman of Vitals. “Now, we’ve entered the new, post-reform health care era. And, just like hotel and restaurant reviews, doctor reviews are seen as an integral part of the decision process for people who need a doctor.”
How integral are these reviews to that decision process? Well, according to recent research, as much as 6 out of 10 people consult online reviews before choosing a doctor.
Moreover, approximately 85 percent of consumers are now at least “moderately likely” to choose a doctor over another based on high ratings and positive reviews.
Patients vocal about customer experience, and look beyond quality of care
According to Vitals, patients and consumers today also tend to look beyond a provider’s quality of care. They’re also assessing other aspects of the patient or customer experience such as bedside manner, office environment, and the medical staff’s level of service.
In fact, Vitals analyzed over 5,000 recent reviews and found that “time,” “staff,” and “office” are the three most common words found in reviews. If you’re curious to know where “diagnosis” ranked, it’s at no. 47.
These findings from Vitals’ analysis echo the results of a similar study done by Vanguard Communications in 2013, when it was found that patients who posted negative online doctor reviews complained about poor service and bedside manner 4 times as much as they did about wrong diagnoses and inadequate medical skills.
“Patients want to know they will be listened and attended to,” added Rothschild. “They want a comfortable waiting room area. They want their time respected. And they want a friendly and responsive staff. These are areas that they’re more than qualified to assess.”
It seems that patients are favorable towards their provider more often than not: according to Vitals’ analysis, the ratio of positive words (such as “great,” “caring,” and “professional”) to negative words (“rude,” “terrible,” “horrible”) is 3:1.
For more information, read through the Vitals infographic below:
(Infographic credit: Vitals)