More and more Americans are using online review sites when making healthcare decisions, according to a new survey.
Forty-two percent of consumers now say they’ve used online healthcare reviews, up 68% from last year.
The survey was conducted by the practice management systems review site Software Advice.
Of those using review sites, 18% said they use online reviews “rarely;” 13% said “sometimes;” and 11% said they use the sites “often.” A majority – 58% – said they never use review sites, though the trend line suggests that number will continue to shrink.
Nearly half of those surveyed (44%) said they would consider using an out-of-network doctor if the doctor had better online reviews than in-network providers. A slightly larger number – 49% – said they weren’t willing to go out of their network for a better-reviewed physician.
In a commentary about the findings, Melissa McCormack, a researcher at Software Advice, said doctors can’t afford to ignore online reviews.
“Doctors should check online review sites to see if a listing for their practice already exists,” she said. “If it doesn’t, they should create one (often for free). Then they should make sure all information about their practice is up-to-date, highlighting how long they’ve been in practice and their certifications – since our research shows that information is particularly important to patients reading online reviews.”