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Should You Rely on Online Doctor Reviews?

Should You Rely on Online Doctor Reviews?

9/29/2021

There is no denying that online reviews have become a deciding factor for healthcare practitioners and providers and for any other businesses with an online presence. But how much can you trust these reviews? Should you at all rely on these online doctor reviews? Are the patients unbiased and neutral in their ratings? Let us find out how impactful online reviews are and how patients use online reviews sites.

Will you choose your doctor based on online reviews?

According to the recent RepuGen Patient Review Survey 2021, more adults opt to consider online reviews before choosing their healthcare partner.

Having said that, you will be surprised to know that most people do not post ratings or reviews on the web, and only 6-8% of those looking for doctors’ reviews online on healthcare review websites have ever posted a review themselves about their doctors. But at the same time, around 34% of millennials like to search online for a doctor before visiting a clinic. For the seniors, though, the percentage is much less at 19%. This is because young adults are more tech-savvy and dependent on the internet.

What kind of doctor reviews do you get online?

Usually, various review sites portray online reviews that are consistent with the overall performance of the healthcare practice. Each of these review websites has its own set of algorithms to check out the authenticity of the reviews posted online. However, not all doctors get an equal number of reviews, and hence it is difficult to assume how accurate the online ratings are. For instance, a single negative review can largely impact the overall rating of a doctor.

Also, numerous surveys online have found out that irate clients tend to post online reviews, and there is no prize in guessing that most of the time, these are negative reviews. Likewise, as stated by the RepuGen Patient Review Survey 2021, there may not be many unhappy patients for a particular healthcare provider. Still, of the handful of unhappy clients, some of them become more vocal online with reviews about how and why they are unsatisfied with the service.

Which ones are the most trusted review platforms for unbiased doctor reviews?

Google is the chosen one when it comes to searching for doctor reviews online. The other review sites like WebMD, Healthgrades, and Yelp come a close second in popularity.

Should you trust doctor reviews websites?

The doctors’ report card provided by various online healthcare review sites should be taken with a pinch of salt. Trust them when you notice several reviews about a single physician with a clear trend towards positivity in the forums and the communities. Look for reviewers that provide specific information about the health concern and how the doctor was able to treat it. 

Prospective patients tend to trust only high-quality online reviews

It is seen that patients tend to trust a doctor who has at least seven or more online reviews and ratings. So the trend is set for a doctor when he has at least seven positive comments about his service.

However, not all comments or ratings bear the same impact in the minds of the prospective patients. They usually look for a certain level of quality in the online ratings before relying on the doctor. Generally, reviews that are older than three months do not hold much reliability with the patients. And if a doctor has only positive reviews, patients tend to become suspicious about the authenticity of the online reviews.

How should you see it from a business perspective?

As a healthcare provider, if you work on the feedback received from the patients and adapt to the changes, your patients feel empowered and turn their loyalty towards your clinic. It helps them in building a trusted and long-term relationship with your practice.

Thus, it is imperative to say how important it is to have online reviews on various healthcare review sites for healthcare providers. A lot of patients trust these online doctor review ratings from the review sites. So, if you are not working towards growing your reviews on these sites, you are majorly lagging behind your competitors. Therefore, seek a good online reputation management firm that can bring great online reviews for your healthcare practice. 

Having said that, it is always best to know whether the reviews have an iota of truth in them by visiting the doctor once by yourself. Until then, it is not easy to come to a concrete conclusion about a physician. But you can do the initial checking. For instance, if you plan to visit a specialist, you can look up his educational qualification online. If you know of any of his patients personally, get in touch with him to learn more about the doctor. A past patient can be the best judge in such cases. 

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ScoreDoc

ScoreDoc is an overall online reputation score of healthcare providers, like doctors, dentists, chiropractors, hospitals, etc., generated by ScoreDoc. ScoreDoc scans reviews on the seven most important online review platforms for doctors: Google, HealthGrades, WebMD, RateMD, Facebook, Yelp, and Vitals. ScoreDoc considers the average review ratings, the number of reviews, the recency of reviews on each platform, the sentiment analysis of the reviews, and uses its proprietary formula for generating the overall score based on the patient review behavior.