Why are doctor review sites important?
Doctor review sites are important because patients rely heavily on doctor reviews and directories to choose their next provider in 2020.
In fact, almost 75% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.
Therefore, it’s important for doctors to manage their online presence across many platforms, not just one, in order to attract new patients online.
Doctor reviews can also improve patient experience. Feedback, good or bad, is often valuable if it can help future patients and improve the quality of healthcare provided.
Finally, doctors should want to have a strong online reputation. As doctors, they’ve invested years trying to earn the respect of their community and it’s important to have an online image that accurately reflects this.
rater8 has compiled a list of doctor review sites whose listings you’ll want to claim, optimize and manage to attract new patients and shine online.
Google is the largest search engine with a 92% market share worldwide.
As a result, rater8 firmly believes that Google My Business (GMB) is the most important listing for doctors. An optimized GMB profile will enhance your online visibility and attract more patients. Doctors and medical practices should have separate GMB listings.
Google My Business allows doctors to post photos, their office hours, website, address, phone number, business description, and more. Prospective patients can use your GMB profile to call you, request directions, or click on your website. When patients search for you online, your Google profile prominently appears on the first results page with your headshot or profile photo. Note that no other listing site will feature your photo on the Google Search Results page. An enhanced profile will also help you become featured in Google’s 3-Pack, which is considered the best free advertising on the web.
In summary, claiming your GMB listing is an absolute must for any healthcare provider, regardless of specialty. Once you claim your listing, then you will have full edit access and can monitor and reply to your online reviews in real-time. According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses who don’t (76% vs. 46%).
Healthgrades is one of the leading doctor review sites and doctor directories.
As of 2019, Healthgrades has over 100 million users and has amassed data on more than three million U.S. healthcare providers. When a patient searches Google for you or your practice, Healthgrades will likely show up on the first page.
On Healthgrades, potential patients can search by doctor name, office name, specialty, condition or procedure. While Healthgrades creates physicians’ profiles based on information from government and commercially available services, physicians can claim and edit these profiles.
Once a profile is claimed, you will be able to add photos, age, gender, information about specialties, and physician background. You can claim your practice’s profile, but keep in mind that the main focus is on individuals.
On Healthgrades, patients can complete patient satisfaction surveys about a practice and physician. The surveys evaluate the office and staff, wait time, experience with the doctor and likelihood of recommending the doctor to family and friends.
One drawback of Healthgrades is that physicians cannot reply individually to lowly-rated surveys.
Is Healthgrades free?
Yes. Healthgrades is advertiser supported and therefore free for consumers to use. If you are a provider, click here to claim your free profile.
Where does your doctor data come from?
Data on Healthgrades.com is collected from a variety of sources including the National Provider Identifier Registry, a government directory of all active providers in the country, surveys directly from patients, claims data from government and third party sources, as well as information that comes directly from providers or practices.
Vitals is an online database of medical professionals where patients can search for healthcare options based on specialty, doctor, condition, location, and accepted insurance. Vitals features over 1 million physician profiles, 165,000 facility listings, and more than 9 million reviews and ratings. Once the listing is claimed, you can manage and edit information, including your preferred display name, practice address, specialties and expertise, and education and awards.
Vitals also has advertising on its site. Large hospital groups purchase these advertising spots, and they will show up next to your reviews. These ads may confuse patients and lure them away from your practice listings.
It is free for physicians to claim their profile on Vitals, but Vitals offers “enhanced” options for profiles when a fee is paid. Reviews are compiled with information such as wait time, staff, bedside manner, and promptness. Patients can leave personalized messages about their experience, and they can also leave reviews anonymously.
ZocDoc is not just an online review platform for doctors; it’s also a directory and online scheduling platform. ZocDoc allows patients to search for providers in their area based on their specialty and the type of insurance they offer. Their scheduling platform is intuitive and user-friendly.
RateMDs advertises that they have 1.7 million listed healthcare providers and 2.6 million doctor reviews. RateMDs, which is free to both patients and doctors, may be a decent physician directory but given the low number of reviews, it’s not strong as a doctor review site. Studies show that the average patient wants to see at least 30 reviews before they trust the accuracy of the review.
Yelp is another popular local directory. Of the listings discussed, Yelp is the least important for doctors. In fact, 19% of all Yelp profiles are restaurants; 17 % are retail; another 17% are local services, and only 8% are healthcare-related.
One common complaint about Yelp is that they often hide their reviews. Yelp reviews show up based on a complicated algorithm and this means that a review left by a first-time user, even if it’s positive, may not show up if they are not considered an avid Yelp user. Unfortunately, there is no way to dispute a hidden review. In recent months, the paid ads are pushing organic results to the second and third pages of search results. Many users reported that more of their reviews get hidden when they cut back on their ad spending budget so just be cautious.