When was the last time you made a decision about where to eat based on a personal or electronic customer review? Billions of restaurant and hotel reviews are readily available in multiple languages throughout the world. It’s nice to enjoy a tasty meal or a comfortable bed, but isn’t it much more important to let people know when you have a good experience with a doctor who helps you heal or saves your life?
Did you see this review? “My doctor gave me six months to live. I couldn’t pay the bill, so he gave me another six months.” Funny2. Watch Sicko to learn more about how the highly profitable American healthcare industry stacks up to other countries.
US doctors are more stressed out than ever. They’re overburdened with increasing demands of medical bureaucracy, leaving them less and less time to provide quality patient care. Check out this clip on Andrew Berkowitz‘s recent visit to his doctor:
As healthcare professionals begin to implement ObamaCare “improvements, it’s important that we all take the time to give kudos to the those who are providing great care and to point out those who aren’t. When you rate your experiences, either good or bad, you’re doing your neighbors a big favor.
Here are some tools you can use to search for doctors and write up reviews after your next appointment.
HealthGrades.com. This is a great tool to find ratings on specialists. Whether you’re looking for a family practitioner or cardiologist near your home or office, this tool can help you find one within 1 mile, 5 miles and so on. If insurance is the main factor, you can use the insurance filter. Let’s say you’re looking for a second opinion on fibroids and you prefer a female gynecologist. You’ll be happy to know they have a sex filter. They claim to have more than 3,000,000 free online physician profiles. It seems to have more data than most of the other sites.
RateMDs.com. Here you can find ratings on more than a million doctors throughout the US. After doing a few random searches, I noticed that a disproportionate number of practitioners seemed to have high reviews, so I can’t help but wonder if real patients entered all the data. They don’t have an “About” page on their website. This makes me a bit suspicious about their motives.
Vitals.com. When I searched for Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and chiropractor on Vitals, I got a “we’re sorry, there are no results for that search” message. Because Vitals.com is narrow-minded, I don’t recommend this tool. One thing I do like about this site, however, is that they list their executive team and business leaders along with their profile pictures, so it seems that there are some legitimate people working behind the scenes.
Yelp.com. Here you can find reviews on just about anything: restaurants, hotels, hair salons, financial services, churches, doctors and more. You can search by distance and by category, but it doesn’t offer as much granularity on doctors as other sites that specialize in reviews on medical professionals. Yelp’s biggest strength is that it’s a one-stop shop for people who like to give reviews. After you’ve narrowed your search on other sites, it never hurts to check Yelp before you pick up the phone to schedule an appointment.
ZocDoc.com. This is the place to go when you want to book an appointment online or on your phone. This can be helpful if you’re searching for a doctor who has extended hours or if you don’t have the patience to make a phone call. You might like this if you’re a hypochondriac or if one of your loved ones has multiple health issues. One thing I did like about ZocDoc is that it doesn’t have advertisements. Most of the others do. On the “About Us” page on their website, they mention that $95 million has been invested in their site, but as a potential user of their site, I wasn’t convinced that it was any better than the others. Perhaps doctors are benefiting more than patients?
DrScore.com. This site claims to have more than 340,000 reviews, so you might want to keep it in mind, but others seem to have more data.
HealthcareReviews.com. This site is up and running, but when I did some sample searches, it didn’t seem to have much data.
Angie’s List.com. This site is for members only so reviewers indirectly waive the right to give an anonymous review. The upside about this is that you have a little more assurance that true patients provided the reviews. The downside is that lots of people don’t want to announce their personal health issues so they’re less likely to do it on a tool that limits the reviews to known paying subscribers, especially in a country that penalizes pre-existing conditions.
Some of these sites might be more or less popular depending on where you live. Use the one that best meets your needs. Some allow you to search for dentists. But before you search on one of these sites, I recommend that you read my blog post entitled, “When’s the Last Time You Did a Check Up on Your Dentist?”
If more people took the time to say as much about their physicians as they do about restaurants and hotels, we’d all have more information to help us make better choices. Healthcare professionals agonize over poor reviews as much as restaurant owners and hotel managers, but no one can deny the benefits to the consumers who become better informed.
Doctors are fighting every day to figure out ways to provide good care despite the ludicrous medical system. Doctors who care about their patients want feedback from them. They don’t always see everything you see as a customer. Your reviews give them that insight. Watch The Doctor to see a true story of a doctor who comes down with cancer and changes his perception about patient treatment.
Check out this recent blog post by Dr. Douglas Farrago entitled, “Brilliant Analysis of Healthcare.” Here he highlights David Goldhill’s review of his father’s last visit to the doctor and his discussion on “How American Healthcare Killed My Father.”
One review might not mean a lot, but when you can see cumulative ratings and reviews by 101 or 1001 people who were doctored, some trends start to show up. It may be a coincidence that 1 in 10 people get sick after eating at Mon Santo’s Diner, but maybe it isn’t. The same logic applies to doctors and hospitals.
A woman went in to see her doctor.
“Your last check came back Mrs. Thrift,” the doctor told her.
“Right,” she said,”and I scheduled today’s appointment to let you know that my arthritis has come back as well. Funny2
Dr. Lorraine Haataia, PhD, is a freelance writer and health humorist. See more by Dr Lorraine at www.DrLorraine.net.
Editor’s Note: I have found all the doctor grading sites out there very misleading. Unfortunately, it is the angry patient who didn’t get an antibiotic for his or her cold who hammers you, which totally biases the rating. As much as I want a great system to tease out which docs are better, the ones out there now just plain suck. You literally would have to beg your long-time patients to put up a good review in order to dilute the one bad one from an idiot. – Doug Farrago