Most physicians are embracing the notion that online reviews of healthcare professionals are here to stay, according to new research from online healthcare marketplace Vitals.
The survey found that now more than 80 percent of doctors monitor their reviews and ratings. However, it wasn’t long ago that doctors threatened—and even sued—patients who posted negative feedback online. Yet, those tactics couldn’t stop the popularity of reviews, which provided much needed transparency to the process of selecting a doctor.
Past Vitals Index studies have shown that reviews from patients largely focus on the patient experience, not a doctor’s medical acumen. Comments tend to address issues such as: Was the doctor on time? How friendly was the staff? Was I rushed through my appointment? This survey reveals doctors are listening to this feedback. In fact, 75 percent of doctors check more than one online rating site. Nearly 12 percent of physicians said they check reviews at least once per week. Another 33 percent said they monitor reviews monthly, while 42 percent check a few times per year. Only 13 percent said they almost never monitor online feedback from patients. Beyond just monitoring, physicians are also responding to patient feedback. One in three said they have written back in response to patient comments, according to the survey.
Despite progress being made with online reviews, a majority of doctors state they aren’t ready to embrace that other advancement born from the internet: online scheduling. Nearly half said they have no interest in allowing patients to schedule office visits online.
“It’s amazing to see the turnaround that has happened over the past five years. Doctors have realized they can build better relationship with patients when they interact with their online reviews,” said Mitch Rothschild, founder and executive chairman of Vitals. “Listening to feedback helps a doctor address problem areas for patients in their practice that they may have otherwise not known about. And better patient experiences have been linked in studies to better clinical outcomes.”