As the annual observance of National Doctors’ Day approaches this week, a new national survey indicates that nearly one-third (30%) of parents report looking at online doctor ratings for themselves or a family member in the past year, with mothers (36%) more likely than fathers (22%) to visit such sites. Among these parents, two-thirds say they selected or avoided a doctor based on the ratings they viewed. Among parents who choose doctors based on the ratings, most (87%) say the online ratings accurately reflect their experience with the doctor. The survey was conducted for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan.
The survey also found, however, that a majority of parents have concerns about doctor rating websites in general. About two-thirds of parents believe some ratings may be fake; slightly fewer feel there are not enough ratings on the websites to make a good decision. More than half of parents feel doctors may influence who leaves ratings. Among parents in this survey who had ever left an online rating about a doctor (11% overall), nearly one-third (30%) reported that the doctor or office staff had asked them to do so.
National Doctors’ Day was established to recognize physicians, their work, and their contributions to society and the community. National Doctors’ Day is observed on March 30 each year. The holiday was officially signed into U.S. law in the early 1990s by President George H. W. Bush, although since the early 1930s patients and healthcare organizations across the country have been celebrating their physicians on this day.
In the on-line ratings survey, older parents generally had more concerns than younger parents. Of parents age 30 and older, 71 percent were concerned about the possibility of fake reviews compared to 59 percent of parents under age 30. Older parents (65%) also were more concerned about the low number of ratings compared to younger parents (55%).
The survey analysis pointed out that “while the use of online physician rating sites is expected to keep rising, their growth may be limited by concerns from parents about accuracy and authenticity.”
In recognition of National Doctors’ Day, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford has urged patients to post a message to their doctor, and many of the messages have been displayed on the hospital’s web site. Other organizations around the state also take note of the contributions of physicians to the well-being of the population.