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Embrace Physician Rating Sites, Improve Patient Experience

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, August 18, 2010

The first three searches came back with nothing, but vitals.com had an entry for with six ratings and three sets of comments. He averaged 3.4 out of 6 points for promptness, courteous staff, accurate diagnosis, bedside manner, spends time with me, and follow up and a 3.5 for ease of appointment. These aren't exactly telling statistics, but it's interesting that six of the seven questions revolve around patient experience while just one addresses clinical care.

The comments, initially, aren't any more helpful: "THE BEST DOCTOR I HAVE EVER SEEN; Caring, intelligent, compassionate," "Fantastic, caring doctor," and "[He] treated me with care and made me feel safe!" Each commenter gave the physician four out of six possible points in each category.

Since the Internet is often a sounding board for people to anonymously vent, I was surprised that each of these comments was positive—especially since we can tell some people gave him lower ratings because the average scores are lower than the commenter's ratings. This should also make healthcare leaders breathe a sigh of relief. Unsolicited online patient feedback isn't all negative.

This quick research also shows that online doctor rating sites aren't quite mainstream—yet. So marketers have a chance to get out in front of this trend and draft a strategy. You might consider:

  • Researching which sites are most active in your market.
  • Directing patients to a specific site to rank their physician after each visit, like some realtors or retailers do.
  • Tasking a staffer with scouring ratings sites to keep tabs on how your organization's top physicians fair.
  • Should you make physicians aware of doctor rating sites and explaining the features.

By considering questions like these now, your organization can solicit and harness patient feedback in a way that allows you to improve care, patient experience, and your hospital's reputation.

Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

1 comments on "Embrace Physician Rating Sites, Improve Patient Experience"


Daniel Fell (9/5/2011 at 5:41 PM)
Good article. I think we will see the next wave of healthcare ratings focus on physicians rather than hospitals as more and more consumers realize that the hospital rating is only one part of the equation. New rating systems, better data and better access to physician information is all contributing to a more educated and aware consumer/patient.