Online Reviews of Doctors Influence Patient Behavior

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ATLANTA, Nov. 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Digital Assent, a healthcare technology company headquartered in Atlanta, today announced the results of its first annual Online Patient Reviews Survey. Of the 341 patients who responded to the survey, eight out of 10 said that online reviews influence their willingness to be treated by a doctor.

"This survey will keep a pulse on how patient attitudes toward online reviews change year over year," explained Whit Lanier, vice president of sales and marketing for Digital Assent. "Regardless of whether doctors love them or hate them, online review sites are here to stay and there's no denying that consumer reviews have a powerful impact on local businesses."

A number of recent surveys from research organizations such as Nielsen, ComScore and BrightLocal have studied the growing importance of online reviews to local businesses. "The goal of our new survey is to measure patient attitudes about online reviews for doctors, so we can see how they compare to general consumer attitudes about online reviews for local businesses," said Lanier.

When patients were asked how their opinions and behavior are affected by online ratings for doctors, survey responders revealed:

  • Eighty-two percent (82%) of patients said that online reviews influence their willingness to be treated by a doctor.
  • Fifty percent (50%) believe that a doctor's online reputation is worth considering, if they have at least 10 reviews.
  • Eighty percent (80%) of patients reported that an average rating of four stars or better was 'good enough'.
  • Eighty-five percent (85%) said they would not be comfortable selecting a doctor if more than ten percent of their reviews had a one-star rating.
  • Seventy-five percent (75%) of patients feel that reviews lose credibility if they are more than 12 months old.

"Our patient survey confirms that the trends being observed in the broader consumer market also apply to the U.S. healthcare market. Consumers rely heavily on online resources to make purchasing decisions – and healthcare consumers are no different," explained Andrew Ibbotson, founder and CEO of Digital Assent.

According to the 2013 Local Consumer Review Survey from BrightLocal, online reputation "matters the most" for doctors and dentists – more so than for restaurants, hotels and all other local businesses. Correspondingly, doctor and dentist reviews are the second most read online reviews behind restaurants.

The significance of these trends has not been lost on policymakers who are working to advance pay-for-performance healthcare models. Patient satisfaction, as measured through patient ratings and reviews, will soon be tied directly to healthcare reimbursements and compensation for employed physicians. Online reviews already have a direct effect on independent physician incomes due to their impact on attracting new patients.

"With the growing consumerization of healthcare that's taking place in this country, it won't be long before a doctor's online reputation is as important – perhaps even more important – than their offline reputation. This may already be the case for physicians in elective and semi-elective healthcare specialties," concluded Ibbotson.

Complete survey results are available at www.digitalassent.com/2013-patient-reviews-survey.

About Digital Assent

Digital Assent is a healthcare technology company that helps healthcare organizations improve patient satisfaction and grow their online reputation. The company's award-winning PatientPad® technology makes it easy for doctors to collect real-time feedback from patients, automatically publish reviews and testimonials to their preferred search and social media channels, and more effectively engage patients throughout their visit. Digital Assent's rapidly growing PatientPad® network spans every major metropolitan market in the country. For more information, please visit www.DigitalAssent.com.

CONTACT: Media: Mike Neumeier mneumeier@arketi.com 404-929-0091 ex. 210

Source:Digital Assent, LLC