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Patients Choosing a Physician

The Role Online Reviews Play in Patients Choosing a Physician

Topic: The Role Online Reviews Play in Patients Choosing a Physician

Online reviews affect many purchasing decisions, and now research has indicated the role they play in patients who choose a physician. More specifically, research has revealed that 4 in 10 adults who are over the age of 50 rely on online reviews before making an appointment with a doctor.

A Study of the Impact of Online Reviews in Healthcare

New research indicates the impact of online reviews in healthcare, with individuals trusting them as much as they would a friend or family member. This especially applies to individuals who are over the age of 50. Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren, a researcher and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, noted that individuals should be aware that ratings and reviews posted online are not always the most accurate source of information when it comes to specific healthcare experiences, or the quality of care rendered by a physician.

Diana Zuckerman, who is the president of the National Center for Health Research, agrees with Dr. Kullgren, stating that many complexities in healthcare simply cannot be relayed via ratings and reviews online. Instead, many individuals are basing ratings and reviews on more menial issues, such as their wait time or the bedside manner of the physician.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Kullgren and his colleagues utilized data taken from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, which periodically surveys American adults. The data starkly revealed the trust put in online ratings and reviews when it comes to choosing a physician, primarily among adults between the ages of 50-80. In essence, 40% of these individuals highly regarded online ratings and reviews, putting them on par with recommendations from family and friends. However, more alarming was the fact that this meant more to them than where the doctor was trained or graduated medical school from.

Other factors besides ratings and reviews that influenced decisions were whether the physician took their specific health insurance coverage and if the physician was of the same race or ethnicity as the patient.

Thus, the research team concluded that more detailed information must be provided online about physicians so that patients can make a more informed decision. More specifically. Dr. Kullgren stated that policymakers and clinicians may need to come up with additional ways to make sure that online ratings and reviews are more accurate in recording the performance and expertise of the physician. Likewise, patients should be aware that while online ratings and reviews are helpful, they are not without their downfalls.

Key Takeaway

A recent study revealed the high impact that online ratings and reviews play in individuals between the ages of 50-80 choosing a physician. However, it is important to remember that online ratings and reviews may not be an accurate indicator of the quality of healthcare rendered, but instead may be based on more menial factors like the wait time or a doctor’s bedside manner.

Topic Discussed: The Role Online Reviews Play in Patients Choosing a Physician