How Do You Read a Doctor Review?
You’ve been looking into an elective medical procedure for a while. Having done your research and learned all about the procedure, you’ve concluded that it’s right for you.
Now it’s time to choose your doctor. As you’re looking into your options, chances are good that one of the things you’ll do is read doctor reviews to look for the best. How do you know what to look for in a doctor review? What’s really important?
How Many People Recommend This Doctor?
This is the most basic piece of data, which you can find on virtually all doctor ratings sites. What percentage of patients who’ve been to this doctor would recommend him or her to someone else? Sometimes, you can find out the types of procedures the other patients had, so you can preferentially consider reviews by people who had the same procedure you’re planning to have.
Be careful about interpreting these reviews. It might seem like just choosing the doctor with the highest ratings is the best way to go, but you need to read the reviews to find out why people rated the doctor the way they did. Maybe the doctor with lower reviews has them because their office isn’t well-decorated or attractive, but you might not care about that. Or you might. Make sure you read the reviews to get the real information in them, rather than just relying on the summary (e.g., how many “stars” the doctor has on average).
You should also make sure that the reviews are written by actual patients of each doctor. As more and more people rely on reviews to choose their doctors, it’s becoming common for doctors to pay for good reviews — or bad ones for their competitors. So make sure the reviews you read were written by real patients.
Staff in the Doctor’s Office
When you’re visiting a medical office, you aren’t just interacting with the doctor. The other staff can have a major impact on your experience there. During surgery, it’s not just the surgeon who does the procedure; nurses and other personnel are also involved. In the case of a minimally-invasive procedure like injections of botox or dermal fillers, your procedure may not even be performed by the doctor, but by trained personnel who work with the doctor. So you may want to consider the ratings for the overall medical office, not just the particular doctor.
Factors Related to Convenience
In most cases, you’ll be looking for a doctor located in your geographic area. This may change somewhat, as telemedicine — the practice of medicine via videoconferencing — becomes more common. However, for now, you’re limited to those doctors with an office you can physically get to. It’s your decision how far you’re willing to travel in order to get the care you seek. If you’re having a bigger procedure or something more specialized, you might consider traveling farther than if you’re looking for care on a regular basis.
The doctor’s promptness is often a big factor in his or her rating. However, you should consider this data carefully when you’re choosing your doctor. While waiting for a long time in a waiting room is indeed a frustrating experience, it might actually reflect positively on the doctor. If the doctor is running late, it may mean that he or she doesn’t rush patients and push them out the door to get to the next patient and stay on schedule. If you want a doctor who really listens to you and takes the time to answer all of your questions, then you may need to accept your doctor being late frequently. If you don’t want your doctor to kick you out of his or her office before you’re done talking, then you shouldn’t expect your doctor to do that to others.
If you’re using health insurance to cover all or part of the expenses related to your procedure, then you’ll need to consider whether or not your doctor accepts your insurance. Not all doctors accept all insurance; there’s a negotiation between each doctor and each insurance company, and they mutually decide to work together or not. That means you may not be able to visit the doctor of your choice using your health insurance. Your insurance company can tell you where to find their database of providers, and you can look up the doctor you prefer to see whether or not they’re in that database.
We’re here for you. Not only does our site provide you with tons of free educational materials about elective health care procedures in our extensive Education Wiki, but we also post real reviews written by patients of doctors around the country. You can search doctors in your area who perform the procedure you’re considering. If you need any help, you can ask all your questions in our forum.