Doctors Taking Proactive Approach to Online Rating, Review Sites

May 20, 2014 in News

The increasing popularity of online physician rating websites has prompted some doctors to adopt a hands-on approach and actively encourage patients to comment, the Wall Street Journal reports.  

Background

About 40 to 50 online sites — such as Healthgrades, RateMDs.com and Vitals — allow patients to rate or write reviews of their physicians.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 25% of 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed said they had consulted an online physician-rating site, with more than 33% saying that ratings played a role in which physicians they chose. However, only a few of those surveyed reported writing an online review.

In addition, a new study currently under review for publication suggests that online reviews accurately reflect patients’ opinions. The study, by researchers at the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, found that online ratings for 800 family-practice physicians in three metropolitan areas generally matched the sentiments of more than 100 patients surveyed by an outside company.

Doctors Make Changes

Some physicians are beginning to embrace ratings websites by:

  • Encouraging patients to post about their experience;
  • Monitoring physician-review sites; and
  • Engaging patients online by responding to negative comments.

For example, Gregg DeNicola, chief executive of Caduceus Medical in California, said, “When we decided to quit ignoring it and embraced it, it totally changed the game.” He noted that the physician review sites are now helping his practice.

In addition, Andrew Pasternak, a family physician in Reno, said that although some reviews “can be pretty brutal,” others are constructive. For example, Pasternak made an effort to make better eye contact with patients and appear more attentive after reading a review that said he spent a lot of time taking notes on his tablet computer (Reddy, Wall Street Journal, 5/19).  

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