Healthcare Review Sites Are Influencing Medical Provider Choices

April 1, 2015 8:48 pm Leave your thoughts

In 2013 reported over 150 million searches for medical care providers. With the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act and the redefiniton of private-pay and elective services, the number of searches connected to online review sites has multiplied exponentially.

A recent survey by Software Advice indicated a clear upward trending in the usage of online medical review sites when considering a medical care provider. Nearly half of those surveyed indicated they would consider using an out-of-network doctor if the doctor had better online reviews than in-network providers. The impact of this information cannot be ignored.

Although many medical professionals have neglected to evaluate information about their practice on core medical review sites such as Vitals, Healthgrades, RateMDs, Wellness and ZocDoc, consumers are placing significant levels of trust in these sites. In fact, many providers have never even claimed their specific page on these medical sites. Every person serving in any medical profession should take time to carefully scrutinize each medical site to insure that professional licensure, association affiliations, address and contact information and information regarding insurance accepted is accurately reflected on the sites. It is very common to find partial or inaccurate information that has simply been pulled from public record information appearing there.

The three most influential medical online review sites consistently referenced by consumers are Yelp, Vitals and Healthgrades. Many doctors are shocked to learn that Yelp is a dominant review site for medical services. Although the site is best known for restaurants, hospitality services and hair salons, Yelp remains an influential site in the mind of the consumer. Patients visiting these sites seek information on quality of care issues, patient experience scores and first hand comments about care, bedside manner, timeliness and staffing. General information about a physician or a practice is no long sufficient; consumers want specifics.

The largest challenge facing medical professionals is how to request a patient’s review. While online reviews are recognized as vital to growing a medical practice, collecting them is still a hurdle. Utilizing a mobile online review capture platform such as The Review Solution?TM can assist in navigating this obstacle. When a patient is waiting to be seen on the front end of an office visit, or checking out at the office desk afterwards, there is ample time for a brief review to be gathered. Utilizing a mobile device allows a patient to sit in privacy when offering honest feedback. Because the comments are captured and submitted before returning the device to the office desk, patient confidentiality is maintained. The doctor or office manager receives honest input that helps improve service levels and allows negative experiences to be dealt with in a timely manner.


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Aaron Kocourek

Chief Strategist at Reputation Advocate
Aaron Kocourek serves as Chief Technology Officer for Third Coast Interactive, Inc. (TCI). He is primary responsible for the overall development of mobile based applications including The Review Solution.