How We Search for a Doctor Now

Not much is the same since the Internet became a ubiquitous part of our lives. Instant access to information and to each other has revolutionized how we make decisions about everything, from which car to buy to which restaurant to go to.

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Looking online for a doctor is increasingly common.

But while car finder and restaurant review sites quickly became essential consumer tools, doctor review sites like Vitals didn’t immediately catch on – whether it was because we were too used to depending on the recommendations of friends, family, other doctors, and that big old insurance book, or because we didn’t yet realize that we have a say in who treats us.

The recommendations of people we trust and insurance requirements will always be important factors, but now more than ever, people are realizing that other information about doctors, facilities, and treatment options is available, and choosing wisely can not only save time and money, but may also lead to better health outcomes. And when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect next year, our options will be even greater and our choices will carry even more weight.

The millions of people who visit Vitals each month have chosen to take a proactive role in their health. We surveyed 1,000 of them to learn more about what motivates them to use Vitals and how the information we provide impacts their search for a doctor. Here’s what we learned:

Online sources have become important to making decisions about your care.
89% of users rely on online sources of information when searching for a doctor; specifically, 51% use consumer ratings sites as a source of information.

Information makes a difference.
45% of people felt differently about their doctor after learning more on Vitals.

Patient reviews of doctors play an important role in the decision process.
90% of people view other patients’ feedback on doctors as important, and 76% of people confirm they use patient reviews to determine a doctor’s qualifications to treat them.

The more reviews, the better.
22% of people said they need to see 5-6 reviews or ratings to feel they are a reliable indicator about the doctor. The same percentage of people said they need to see 9-10 ratings/reviews.

Do you go online to find a new doctor or to read up on a current one? Tell us about it below.

And help others make an informed decision by reviewing your doctor on Vitals.