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What’s Up, Doc? Doctor Reviews Show that Patients Care More About Service than Medical Expertise

A new study by an online doctor reviews site has shown that patients seem to care more about service and bedside manner than about the medical expertise of their doctors.

In the study, Vitals, one of today’s leading doctor review sites, analyzed 1,000 recent reviews and found that patients value in their doctors many qualities that are not often taught in medical school – such as customer service and the doctor’s interpersonal behavior. According to the site, some of the most common words found in the reviews were “office,” “staff,” “waits,” “called,” “explained,” and “listened” – appearing more than 100 times in the collected reviews. In contrast, the word “diagnosed” appeared only 40 times.

Here’s an infographic showing the most popular words in recent Vitals reviews:

monitor doctor reviews

“Our analysis suggests that customer service will remain of great importance to the doctor-patient relationship,” said Vitals CEO Mitch Rothschild in a statement. “These softer metrics reinforce the importance of a patient feeling heard and valued. Studies show that the better the patient experience, the better the clinical outcome.”

The results of Vitals’ study demonstrate that – whether doctors like it or not – medical expertise is not the only factor that contributes to patient satisfaction and overall sentiment. Values that one doesn’t necessarily learn in medical school come into play, too. A similar study done last year by Vanguard Communications revealed that patients want excellent customer service and good bedside manner above all. In fact, the patients who posted negative online doctor reviews complained about poor service and bedside manner four times as much as they did about misdiagnoses and inadequate medical skills. (Check out: “Online Doctor Reviews Reveal What Matters Most to Patients”)

This makes it more critical than ever for doctors, physicians, and healthcare and medical professionals to monitor doctor reviews and, more importantly, improve their levels of service.

“Across industries, reviews are popular because they provide easy-to-understand recommendations. In healthcare, first-hand experiences help patients who face decisions that are more complicated and higher stakes make better choices,” added Rothschild.

(Infographic: Vitals)

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.


  1. Nicole Burns

    This is scandalous. Is society gone mad? Are we so spoiled that it’s more important to be pampered than to be cured?

  2. Tammyexperiments

    Last year I was in hospital for a few days because of minor stomach pain. The doctor was so rude, as if I have nothing better to do then to lie in bed whole day. My health problem wasn’t too serious, but nevertheless I needed some medications. If the doctor treats you like a hypochondriac it means that he is not performing his job as a professional. His bad bedside manners were influencing on diagnosis.

  3. Jay Bird

    People mostly like pleasant people, especially when you are in some need fore care, when you sick, or something similar.Someone sick likes to get some attention, care, nice words and these things sometimes could be very helpful. After few words with doctor acting care you can feel better, feeling no pain and relaxed. Your thoughts become much happy …and you really don’t need a real medicine or cure. But sometimes, it doesn’t work. If you are in a big health problems you do need a good diagnose and good medical. Still, if doctor shows his worries about you, it’s a real thing.