In the well-reasoned article “Online Reviews of Physicians: What Are Your Patients Posting About You?” (May/June 2009), the authors quite rightly said physicians should be aware of, monitor and participate in online reviews. However, they also repeated a common misconception in saying “disgruntled patients are more likely than satisfied patients to post reviews.”
At Angie's List (http://www.angieslist.com), we're finding the opposite is true. We've received more than 10,000 reports on the health care industry, and we continue to find that our members are overwhelmingly positive and eager to share information about their good experiences with local doctors.
We strongly believe that the health care community will be better served by following the authors' advice and participating in online reviews. They are here to stay and will only increase in consumer use and importance.
Another consideration for both patients and physicians is to pay close attention to how the various sites offer reviews. Sites you can trust do not offer anonymous reports, do hold patients accountable for truthful reporting, vigilantly monitor reports for adherence to accountability guidelines, alert physicians when reports are submitted about them, and work with physicians to address concerns.