More Patients Using Doctor-Rating Sites
The Internet has brought on the democratization of information for all things including doctor ratings. A new US survey suggests that 65 percent of people reported awareness of online physician ratings and one in four reported using these sties.
"Patients are increasingly turning to online physician ratings, just as they have sought ratings for other products and services," researchers wrote in the study. "Little is known about the public's awareness and use of online physician ratings, and whether these sites influence decisions about selecting a physician."
Researchers surveyed the public in September 2012 about their knowledge and use of online ratings for selecting doctors.
The findings revealed that 60 percent of participants responded. The study showed that 21 percent of the respondents were 18 to 29 years old, 17 percent were 30 to 39 years old, 18 percent were 40 to 49 years old, 19 percent were 50 to 59 years old and 26 percent were 60 years or older.
The findings show that 40 percent of doctor rating sites were "very important" when choosing a physician. However, the survey revealed that these rating sites were endorsed less frequently than other factors like word of mouth from family and friends.
Researchers also found that awareness of online physician ratings were significantly lower than for consumer goods like cars and non-healthcare service providers.
The findings revealed that 35 percent of participants reported selecting a doctor based on good ratings and 37 percent reported they had avoided a physician with bad ratings.
Researchers found that 43 percent of people who had not used physician-rating sites reported a lack of trust in the information on the sites.
Researchers concluded, "rating sites that treat reviews of physicians like reviews of movies or mechanics may be useful to the public but the implications should be considered because the stakes are higher."
The findings are published in the journal JAMA.