Yelp is the most popular site for online physician reviews followed by Healthgrades and RateMDs, according to recent survey conducted by Software Advice on how patients use online reviews. The survey findings indicate that positive patient reviews on multiple sites is becoming increasingly necessary to attract and retain patients, particularly as the healthcare industry shift towards a patient-centric model.
“Online patient-generated content is here to stay—so we might as well use it to make ourselves better doctors. I recommend physicians encourage their patients to leave reviews and regularly examine their ‘digital footprint’ as part of maintaining their online reputation,” said Dr. Tara Lagu of Baystate Medical Center.
Other key findings include:
Yelp and Healthgrades Are Most Trusted Reviews Sites
– In 2013, Yelp was overwhelmingly the most trusted site for online physician reviews, at 44 percent. This year, however, Healthgrades has pulled even with Yelp, with both sites accounting for 26 percent of respondents.
Most Patients Use Online Reviews Prior to Choosing Physician
– 61 percent of respondents online patient reviews prior to choosing a doctor. However, a slightly greater percentage of patients in 2014—20 percent, up from 19 percent in 2013—say they use online reviews to evaluate their current doctor
– Doctors should be aware that both current and new patients may be using reviews to evaluate their performance, and thus having a positive online presence on review sites is a step toward not just attracting patients, but retaining them.
Quality of Care Remains Most Valuable Information
– quality of care is the information patients value most, cited by 48 percent of respondents. In second place is patient rating scores, cited by 45 percent of respondents, followed closely by the overall patient experience, at 40 percent.
– Less important information to respondents included practice demographics and the appearance of the doctor’s office, which were cited by 25 and 11 percent, respectively.
– Doctors should consider encouraging patients to rate the quality of care they receive. This can be done by sending patients email reminders with a link to the physician’s online profiles asking them to leave a review.
Accuracy of Diagnosis Most Important Delivery of Care Information
– Accurate diagnoses (34 percent) and a doctor’s listening skills (22 percent) took the top two spots. An inaccurate diagnosis can have extremely negative effects on a patient’s finances and cause tremendous undue stress and mental anguish.
– In terms of administrative information, 25 percent of respondents cited wait times as most important, which was likewise the most sought-after information in 2013.
– Staff friendliness came in second, at 22 percent, while ease of scheduling and billing/payment issues came in at 19 and 16 percent, respectively.
Most Reviewers Share Positive or Neutral Reviews
– 43 percent of respondents say they usually write something positive, while another 28 percent say their responses tend to be neutral.
– 32 percent of respondents cited helping other patients, while 30 percent said sharing a positive experience was their primary incentive for leaving a review.
-85 percent of respondents said they’d be at least “moderately likely” to choose one doctor over another based on positive reviews.
– 34 percent cited “exaggerated reviews” as the primary reason for disregarding a review—more so than any other reason—indicating that patients are perceptive about negative reviews, and can tell a valid complaint from an overreaction.
To find the data in this report, SoftwareAdvice surveyed a sample of 4,620 patients in the United States, collecting a minimum of 365 responses for each question. Questions were worded to ensure that each respondent fully understood their meaning and the topic at hand.
For more information about this report, visit http://www.softwareadvice.com/medical/industryview/online-reviews-report-2014/