In Review

Have you checked out online physician reviews before you picked a new physician?

I used to monitor what was said about me online. I wanted to see what people were saying. Feedback from patients is often helpful.

I have learned a lot from listening to my patients.

But I stopped reading online reviews. Haven’t looked in a couple of years. I found that for every fifty glowing reviews that oneugly one negated everything. When something negative was left, it was never something constructive. It was pure venomous vitriol. Made me feel angry and helpless.

I could go back and trace the dates or use things that were said on the negative reviews and figure out who put it there. Generally they were drug seekers who did not get what they wanted or people who were fired from my practice because of abuse of my staff, which is fine. I don’t mind upsetting people like that but no one else knows that was the reason they said that I sucked. Confidentiality laws being what they are, I cannot respond to those reviews.

New patients come every day and more often than not they say that they picked me because of my reviews so there must be a lot of good stuff out there at this point.

But, I have often wondered how patients should decide on who is a good physician, who they should see. There is a fair degree of quackery and ignorance and personality disorders among physicians as anyone in medicine can tell you.

Quality ratings from insurance companies are not really all that telling. Generally they rate the physicians that cost them the least (spend less of their money) the highest. If they are using preventive care or disease management data (like did I strong arm you into getting your PAP and colonoscopy or do my patients have their diabetes under control) could mean I am good at treating my patients, or could mean that I fire anyone that does not do what I say (I know physicians who do this very thing).

Online patient reviews can tell you something, maybe. Perhaps I really am good and personable and conscientious. Maybe I just give everyone what they want even if it is not good medicine. (Here is an antibiotic for your viral infection…)

Word of mouth, friend referrals, can be good, but even horrible physicians have loyal followers.

Trying doctors out is a good way to see first hand the practice style, but copays get expensive!

You could check on pending lawsuits, but even that could give you a false sense of security. Maybe a doctor has never been sued because they are ordering CTs on everyone. Seems like a good idea until you realize that every CT you get increases your risk of cancer later. They are appropriate in certain circumstances but very often are not the right choice straight out of the box.

Celebrity endorsements are NOT a good way to choose a physician. That could be a whole other post.

In short, a combination of a lot of that is probably the right way to go. I am glad that there is more transparency in medicine and easier access to info for patients. That is a good thing for the profession, but be aware of the pitfalls. Most of all, when you post a review make it honest and constructive.

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2 thoughts on “In Review

  1. This is very informative! Of course, doctors are human, so I never go expecting them to be perfect. You do make some awesome points. I guess it’s up to the patient to take their own health into their hands and do research.

    If you know enough, you’ll be able to kind of detect if somebody isn’t giving you the appropriate treatment. You’re a kind person. I think you worry about your patients; but everyone has to do a little of that care for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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