Employee Benefits

Consumers Check Physician Reviews Online


If you need to find a new primary care physician, how do you determine which doctor’s office to contact? Historically, most people have relied on recommendations of friends and medical providers, but with the growth of the Internet, many consumers are checking online reviews of physicians.

According to a survey reported in Medical Economics, nearly 20 percent of people looking for a new primary physician considered online reviews of doctors as very important, while 40 percent said they were somewhat important. At least 35 percent indicated they selected a physician based on good ratings, while 27 percent reported avoiding physicians who were rated poorly. Conversely, about 43 percent of individuals believe online physician ratings are not reliable.

There are many websites that gather consumer feedback on doctors. Three popular sites are: healthgrades.com, ratemds.com and vitals.com. On these sites, physicians are typically rated with stars, or by a percentage, according to patient satisfaction reviews. Some pages feature limited information on patient feedback and charge a fee to read the complete review.

A common complaint physicians have for website ratings is that they are not given an opportunity to respond to feedback. A ZocDoc survey reports that at least 85 percent of physicians review their online ratings.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, while people believe it’s important to consider doctors’  online feedback, ultimately they tend to select their primary physician based on six key factors:

  • whether the office accepts their health insurance
  • office location
  • physician experience
  • physician reputation
  • recommendations of family or friends
  • physician referral


To learn more about physician ratings, review these articles:

Do You Check Online Doctor Ratings? 1 in 4 Consumers Do

Online Doctor Reviews Not Commonly Researched By Patients

More Patients Are Checking Doctor-Rating Websites, Study Finds