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    On Doctors, Friend Recommendations Trump Online Ratings But One Thing Beats All Else
    By News Staff | February 19th 2013 11:24 AM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    You can find ratings for anything on the Internet; reviews and ratings for hotels and restaurants are surprisingly well-regarded.  Doctors, not so much.  But it's generational as well.

    And one thing trumps all else: 'Do they accept my insurance?'  92% of parents listed that as very important while only 65% rated a convenient office location as very important.  

    The University of Michigan
    ott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health
    found that only 25 percent of parents say doctor rating websites matter in their search for a child's physician. However, younger parents (considered those under 30) were more likely (44%) than parents 30 or older (21%) to think doctor rating websites are very important. 

     Mothers (30%) are more likely than fathers (19%) to think such ratings are very important.   Years of experience (52%) and recommendations from friends (50%) were rated very important.

    Nearly one-third of parents (30%) who have gone online to view doctors' ratings reported that they have selected a doctor for their children due to good ratings or reviews. And nearly one-third of parents (30%) reported avoiding a doctor for their children due to bad ratings or reviews. The reviews and ratings are done by a tiny percentage - very few adults (5%) say they have ever posted ratings or reviews of doctors.

    "More and more families are going online not only to find out about medical conditions but also in their search for the right doctor for their child. What we found in the poll was that the perceived importance of online ratings appears to differ widely based on factors such as parent age and gender," says David A. Hanauer, a primary care pediatrician and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at U-M. Hanauer collaborated with the National Poll on Children's Health regarding this study of doctor rating websites. "These data suggest that younger families are more likely to rely on online ratings, which means over time we'd expect the use of these websites will keep increasing."

    "The small percentage of people who actually post reviews suggests that people who depend on online ratings may not be getting an accurate picture of a pediatrician's care," Hanauer says.

    "Importantly, there is currently no oversight or regulation for rating websites that collect 'crowdsourced' information about doctors. It is hard to verify the reliability of the ratings or whether they are subject to manipulation," says  Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. "But it is worth noting that word of mouth from family and friends is not regulated, either. On the other hand, those sources of information may be perceived as more directly accountable by parents seeking the information, and therefore more trustworthy."




    Comments

    Is it okay to post a doctor review online, when the doctor can't respond to your review? Some doctors support this forum as a mode of change, while others argue that it creates an unbalanced format that only allows one opinion to get through.

    Gerhard Adam
    Many such reviews are simply nonsense.  I've seen similar such reviews for veterinary hospitals, of which the primary posters are disgruntled employees.

    Unless and until there are a significant number of people posting that represent a reasonable cross section, it is simply a gossip site.
    Mundus vult decipi