Friday, August 24, 2007
Doctor Online Ratings
Doctors used to get referrals from word of mouth. The internet has taken that to new highs with online physician rating websites like ratemds.com. Boasting 334,669 ratings and climbing, with 580 new ratings added yesterday, this trend of saying whatever you want anonymously and publicly should bring a chill to every practicing physician. With use of a smiley or frowney face, not to mention scathing comments, a patient now has the weapon to get even for that long wait or rude receptionist.
There is no stopping this trend. Medical Justice is a company that provides a contract for physicians to have patients sign that requires the physician to give "ratings permission". Does anyone think this will be effective? Some frustrated patients have created entire websites to criticize specific doctors that have annoyed them.
We will not be going back to the days of gossip across the back fence. Doctors will not be immune from the free speech of the world wide web and they better get used it. These online patient reviews give people a sense of control and it reflects the lack of credible information available when people are searching for a doctor. In a world where you have to pick your physician from an insurance list, reading the review is seen as a plus. Never mind that it may be one person's opinion.
We now have the ability to say anything about anyone and post it for millions of people to see. I think it would be more helpful if sites required people to use their real names rather than hide behind anon. As my mother used to say: "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." In the world of web 2.0, that saying is about as obsolete as a horse and buggy.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 7:44 AM