Study Shows Most Doctors Get Positive Online Ratings
The Internet is usually a place for anonymous negative comments and reviews, but new research has shown that most healthcare consumers consistently give their physicians high marks on the Internet. Vanguard Communications, a 20-year-old Denver marketing and public relations firm specializing in healthcare, developed special software to analyze Yelp.com and Google+ reviews of doctors, group medical practices, clinics and hospitals.
The software searched ratings of over 46,300 providers in the nation’s 100 largest cities and found that 56.8 percent of physicians get four stars or better. At the other end of the satisfaction scale, only one in eight doctors (12.1 percent) gets an average of less than two stars. More than three out of four (77.3 percent) earn three stars or better.
“From our findings, it appears that doctors tend to get much better reviews than hotels, restaurants and retail businesses,” said Vanguard CEO Ron Harman King. “While some doctors indisputably suffer from unjust online comments, our snapshot of American healthcare providers indicates doctors in general enjoy widespread respect and gratitude from patients.”
Patients in San Francisco and Oakland appear to be happiest with their doctors, while the least satisfied American healthcare consumers live in other California cities as well as in New York State locales, the study also revealed.
A similar 2013 study conducted by Vanguard revealed that unhappy patients most often complain about poor customer service and bedside manner four times more often than citing misdiagnoses and inadequate medical skills as cause for their dissatisfaction. The biggest source of complaints was perceived doctor indifference and bedside manner. 43.1 percent of the critics said their annoyance was because the doctor was rushed, late for the scheduled appointment, did not listen well or was otherwise dismissive of their concerns.
As medical consumers increasingly turn to physician rating sites to shop for healthcare providers, anxiety in the medical community is growing over online reviews, with some doctors suing their patients over Internet comments. Nevertheless, a recent study reports that among patients who utilize physician-review websites, 35 percent have selected doctors based on good reviews, while 37 percent avoided doctors based on bad reviews. Prior studies have shown that few physicians are reviewed on rating sites, however, an analysis of one rating site indicated that between 2005 and 2010 there was an increase in the number of physicians rated and the number of ratings per physician.
Now doctors can be satisfied that their patients are treating them well in online reviews.