MODERN HEALTHCARE: “Web Ratings Aren’t Key In Choosing Doctor: Study”

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FEBRUARY 20, 2013

“Web Ratings Aren’t Key In Choosing Doctor: Study”

Andis Robeznieks, MODERN HEALTHCARE

Geography and physician referral still top the Internet when it comes to patients’ healthcare choices, but insurance coverage is by far the biggest driver when it comes to parents choosing a doctor for their children, according to a new national survey.

“Accepts my health insurance” was rated as “very important” by 92% of the respondents in a survey commissioned by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Coming in a distant second was a convenient office location, which was rated as a very important decision-making factor by 65% of the respondents; followed by doctor’s years of experience, 52%; recommendations from family and friends, 50%; referral by another doctor, 40%; and doctor’s online ratings, 25%.

Age and gender play a role in relying on the Internet, as mothers (30%) were more likely to use Internet ratings in their decision-making than fathers (19%). Among parents younger than 30 years old, 44% thought online ratings were important, but only 21% of parents 30 years old or older thought so.

Dr. David Hanauer, a pediatrician and University of Michigan clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, said in a video that these findings show how “over time, the use of these websites will keep increasing.” But Hanauer noted that only 5% of respondents reported ever posting a review, so he cautioned that online ratings might not give an accurate picture of a physician’s performance.

Among those who had posted reviews, 54% reported giving positive reviews, while 19% said they posted negative reviews.

Of those who reported finding online reviews useful, 30% said they chose a doctor based on positive reviews, while 30% said they avoided a physician based on their negative reviews.

Among those who never sought online reviews about doctors, 43% said they didn’t trust the information. Also, 26% of respondents said they were concerned about a doctor taking action against them if they left a negative review.

In the survey report, the unregulated nature of Internet reviews was referenced, but it was also mentioned that word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends are not regulated either. “But those sources of information may be perceived as more directly accountable by parents seeking the information, and therefore more trustworthy,” the report stated.

The Web-enabled survey of 2,137 adults was administered for C.S. Mott Children’s last September by New York-based GfK Custom Research.

A recent survey of the American College of Physician Executives found that most ACPE members didn’t think many patients consulted online doctor ratings, but 69% of respondents said they went online to see what was posted about them.

A study published last year in the Journal of Medical Internet Research analyzed 386,000 ratings posted between 2005 and 2010 on the RateMDs.com website. On a one-to-five scale, the average score was 3.9, leading the study’s authors to declare that “Online ratings appear to be driven by patients who are delighted with their physicians.”

And while the Mott Children’s survey found concern about physicians retaliating over negative online comments, one recent court decision did not go well for the physician who filed a defamation case.

Dr. David McKee, a Minnesota neurologist, sued a patient’s son who—in an online post—accused McKee of insensitive behavior toward his father. (The online comments were not directed at the care the patient received.) The case went to the Minnesota Supreme Court which, in a Jan. 30 ruling, said the statements McKee sued over did not merit legal action.

FULL ARTICLE

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Web Posting

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply To Patient Complaint

Plaintiff David McKee’s Cease And Desist Letter To Defendant Dennis Laurion

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Complaint To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint To Sixth Judicial District Duluth Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Response To Minnesota Board Of Medical Practice

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Answer To Plaintiff David McKee’s Complaint

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Motion For Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Deposition Extracts

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances Before Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony About Circumstances After Encounter With Laurion Family

Plaintiff David McKee’s Deposition Testimony In Response To Questions By Marshall Tanick

Affidavits By Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Parents

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Supplemental Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Motion To Oppose Summary Judgment

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Memo In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment

Sixth Judicial District Court’s Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Appeal Of Order On Motion For Summary Judgment

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Court Of Appeals

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Order To Strike Portion Of Plaintiff David McKee’s Reply Brief

Minnesota Court Of Appeals Announces Decision

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Petition For Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Opposition To Review By Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Plaintiff David McKee’s Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Defendant Dennis Laurion’s Reply Brief To Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Decision On David McKee MD V. Dennis K. Laurion

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2010

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2011

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2012

David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion 2013

McKee V Laurion Is A Textbook Case

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