Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Online MD reviews: cars, movie sites more popular

CHICAGO — Doctor ratings are less popular than those of toasters, cars and movies when it comes to online consumer sites. That’s according to a survey that found most adults hadn’t checked online physician reviews – and most said a conveniently located office and accepting patients’ health insurance was more important.

Still, the sites do appear to be swaying opinions. About a third of patients who viewed online sites sought out or avoided physicians based on their ratings.

The findings come from a nationally representative Internet-based survey of 2,137 adults. Results were published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The 2012 survey may overestimate awareness among the general population, since about 1 in 5 Americans don’t have Internet access. But the researchers attempted to compensate for that by providing free Internet-connected computers for consumers without access.

The results suggest that online doctor ratings have gained popularity since earlier surveys. That’s a concern since there’s no way to know if a review is real or fake, or what might have motivated the reviewer, said lead author Dr. David Hanauer, a pediatrician and associate professor at the University of Michigan.

More than one-third of those surveyed had checked out online reviews for movies, restaurants, appliances or electronics, and more than 1 in 4 viewed online car ratings. But less than 1 in 5 said they had viewed online physician ratings.

Consumer reviews of doctors’ can be found on dozens of online sites, including some that only rate doctors and others like yelp.com that cover a panoply of goods and services. Most reviewers don’t include their full names or remain anonymous.

Some doctors who oppose the idea make their patients sign “gag orders” agreeing not to post comments about them online. Hanauer said he doesn’t do that. He added that he hasn’t found any reviews of himself online.

The American Medical Association – the nation’s largest physicians’ group – is wary of the sites.

“Anonymous online opinions of physicians should be taken with a grain of salt, and should certainly not be a patient’s sole source of information when looking for a new physician,” Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven, AMA’s president, said in a statement.

Hanauer questioned whether doctors should be subject to “crowdsourced” reviews like other commodities. He said doctors risk getting bad reviews for sound medical advice simply because patients don’t agree with it. For example, antibiotics only fight bacteria but parents often want pediatricians to prescribe them for kids’ colds or other viruses. Doctors’ refusals might result in a bad review, but that would be misleading, he said.

Roberta Clarke, a Boston University health care marketing specialist, said there’s no reason that doctors shouldn’t be the focus of consumer reviews, but that online sites need to do a better job of providing meaningful information.

There are no standards, some sites charge a fee to look at doctor reviews, and sites that use stars or checkmarks don’t always explain what’s being rated, Clarke said.

Oliver Kharraz, founder of ZocDoc.com said his New York-based site avoids the pitfalls of many by offering more than just reviews. Patients can schedule appointments on the site with doctors who pay to be listed, and only patients who make appointments are allowed to give reviews. Patients also get suggested topics for review including bedside manner and waiting times.

“The review needs to be done right in order for it to make sense,” he said.

Lori Goldstein, a beauty salon owner in Chicago’s suburbs, said she has used online ratings sites to help find doctors for her mother and herself, and has written bad online reviews for her fathers’ doctors because she thinks they give him too many prescriptions.

“I wanted to warn people,” she said.

But Goldstein said consumers have to be smart about using online doctor reviews.

“You have to be careful because you can’t believe everything,” she said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Supervisor candidates file conflict-of-interest forms

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Vacaville set to usher in new chapter for Police Department

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun council debates train depot renovation

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
 
Trial begins for teacher accused of abusing children

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 11 Comments

 
Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

State Senate must do more to restore trust

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7