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

What are the patient satisfaction levels like in America? How happy are U.S. healthcare consumers with their doctors? Well, new information reveals that the answer could depend on which city they live in.

A new study by healthcare marketing firm Vanguard Communications has ranked the top – and the worst – U.S. cities according to the sentiment of collected online doctor reviews. The ranking, entitled “Happy Patient Index,” is the result of an unprecedented analysis of reviews and ratings of approximately 46,300 doctors and physicians as posted on Google+ and Yelp. Vanguard ranked each city according to its aggregated online rating based on a five-star scale.

(Check out: “Patients – and Doctors – Continue to Check Online Doctor Reviews”)

According to the results, patients in San Francisco and Oakland are the happiest and most satisfied with the level of care they’re getting from doctors and physicians. The hardest to please, meanwhile, are patients in Bakersfield and Modesto in California as well as North Hempstead in New York.

In an age when online reviews can make or break one’s online reputation, many doctors and medical professionals have come to fear what their patients might be saying about them. But Vanguard’s study actually showed that majority of patients post positive reviews or high ratings: 56.8 percent, in fact, give their physicians 4 stars or higher, while only 1 out of 8 doctors (12.1 percent) have an aggregated rating of less than 2 stars.

“From these findings, I’d say that doctors get much better reviews than hotels, restaurants, and retail businesses,” said Ron Harman King, CEO of Vanguard Communications. “Another discovery is that you can find happy patients everywhere, not just in sunny, warm places but also in relatively cloudy and damp locations such as Cleveland and Seattle.”

Here are the top 10 and worst 10 US cities, according to the new Happy Patient Index. (You can click here for the full list.)

Top 10

1. San Francisco, California / Oakland, California

2. Honolulu, Hawaii

3. Indianapolis, Indiana

4. Seattle, Washington

5. St. Louis, Missouri

6. Cleveland, Ohio

7. San Jose, California

8. Austin, Texas

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

10. Birmingham, Alabama

Worst 10

(starting with the unhappiest)

1. Bakersfield, California

2. Modesto, California

3. North Hempstead, New York

4. Sacramento, California

5. Buffalo, New York

6. Riverside, California

7. Orlando, Florida

8. San Bernardino, California

9. Washington, DC

10. Huntington, New York

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. Michael

    It would be bad if hotels get better reviews then doctors. That would mean that the doctors are not doing what they are payed for, or they are doing it wrong. I really hope that the doctors will get only 5 start reviews (as long as the reviews are fair), because that’s something every patience deserve. A 5 start doctor treating the patience at 5 star facility with a 5 star success.

    • Patrick R

      I agree with you Michael. People do care about their health and doctors should provide the best care possible. I really don’t know what kind of doctor can get a 1 star review. How can somebody provide a 1 star care? His diploma should be taken away immediately and he should be forbidden of continuing his practice.

  2. spameater

    I don’t care if he is a 5 star doctor or 1 star rated. If he or she can help me when i’m sick i would give that doctor a steak dinner.I think, it’s stupid reviewing doctors this way,because people give their reviews based on, was that doctor kind and did he had a nice smile,not on how he made us healthier..