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77% of patients use online reviews as the first step in finding a doctor

Executive Director - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Patients looking for a new doctor are increasingly relying on online reviews to find the right fit, says a new survey from software ratings and research firm Software Advice.
In fact the survey of 1,438 consumers finds that 84% of patients now use online reviews to evaluate physicians and more than three-quarters (77%) use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.
The frequency with which patients use reviews sites varies, but a majority do so regularly—59% of consumers report using web reviews of doctors “often” or “sometimes,” while 25% use them “rarely.”
“This data suggests patients are finding a great deal of value in online reviews of medical practices,” says the Software Advice survey. “What’s more, this dynamic can make or break a medical practice’s online reputation. It’s not just that so many patients are using reviews—it’s that those reviews are often the first thing patients see.”
Whether a physician is a part of a particular health plan network isn’t a patient’s sole criterion in picking a new care giver. The survey finds that consumers use online ratings and reviews to find the doctor with the best reputation. Nearly half of respondents (47%) say they would go out of network for a doctor who has similar qualifications to an in-network doctor, but has more favorable reviews.

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