Physicians of all specialties find themselves wondering what kind of information is posted about their practices online. Here, Steve Wyer offers answers to common questions about medical review sites.
Q: What is the purpose of medical review websites?
Steve Wyer: Medical review sites serve the dual purpose of helping individuals find a doctor that suits their needs and providing feedback from other patients regarding the doctor’s quality of practice and personality. The site also allows reviewers to comment on wait times, convenience, and helpfulness of staff.
Q: Why are these types of sites important, in your opinion?
Steve Wyer: Medical review sites make it easier to ascertain ahead of time what sort of experience one can expect when visiting a new physician’s office. A doctor with high ratings and positive reviews will likely capture more new patients than a similar practitioner with less-than-favorable patient evaluations.
Q: Are medical review sites similar to Yelp or Angie’s List?
Steve Wyer: In a way, yes, but with a few key distinctions. Medical review sites focus exclusively on the medical community. This includes individual doctors, joint practices, ambulatory centers, and hospitals. These types of sites are becoming increasingly influential as more people have access to the Internet. Also, mobile technology makes it easier than ever to access information any place, any time.
Q: As a physician, do I have any control over the reviews posted about my practice?
Steve Wyer: Not always, although some medical review sites offer an opportunity his/her first result presented. Additionally, some sites may allow the doctor to hide reviews that he/she deems suspicious. A suspicious review is one that you believe may come from someone who’s never visited your practice or who has a personal issue with yourself or a member of your staff.