MD.com doesn’t just want to provide a service for consumers to find a doctor. It wants to be your patients’ healthcare provider CRM and even offers the potential for receiving telehealth services from your doctor through its secure video function.
That’s an ambitious plan. Consumers can open free accounts through which they can review doctors, create favorites list of doctors, and book appointments through the third-party site. If their doctor has subscribed to the MD.com Telemedicine platform, they can have medical consultations from their desktop or mobile device.
But there’s a lot going on here before a patient is ready for a video consult. Let’s start with how their review system and profiles work, since this is where their provider selection service overlaps with the other medical practice review sites we’ve reviewed here.
Finding and Reviewing Doctors
A consumer will find the typical doctor search options on the MD.com homepage:
- Geographic Location
- Insurance Accepted
When I typed in my zip code to run a search, it automatically converted into “Dallas, Texas,” which is rather a larger area than my own zip code. So I was concerned about the geographical relevance of the results. Yet the default list is clearly ordered by what the site calls “Best Match” with geographic proximity as a secondary sort.
In fact, if searchers select a different sort order on their results list, the default secondary sort is still by geographic proximity. The other results list order options are by online appointments, distance, first name and last name. Result lists can be filtered by insurer and/or sex of provider.
I noted right off that MD.com profiles have more provider photos than any other doctor review site we’ve looked at here. Taking a closer look, I see that the site will scrape photos from other sites, like a doctor’s hospital page. The site does provide a link to the alternate site, making it clear that’s the image source. It’s certainly better than their generic image of a doctor in a tie. (They’ll catch on to that soon enough, I think.)
The other interesting note about how MD.com presents it results list is that it indicates if a provider has reviews, but doesn’t give any indication of the doctor’s overall rating.
That may be because this site doesn’t use the standard 5-star rating system that so many review sites use. Instead, it has a more Facebook-esque thumbs-up/like/recommend option. When searchers click through to a profile with reviews, they’ll see what percentage of reviews are a thumbs-up.
Instead of stars, MD.com has a fixed set of tags reviewers can select to add to their written review. The thing is – all the tags are positive. I suppose searchers can infer from the absence of the “On Time” tag that a doctor runs late. But that’s a lot to task of researchers.
Better would be to offer some constructive criticism tags that let reviewers share a more nuanced review since they have only a up/down vote right now. Sure a doctor could be great, but the patient might also wish their staff were more helpful and throw that tag up there.
Your Profile: What You Can Do and What Patients Will See
Like many other medical practice review sites, you may well have a profile even if you haven’t claimed it. MD.com collects information about your specialties, education and hospital affiliations. The top of your profile may have your image (see above), as well your specialty, years experience, and practice name and address.
If your medical practice has more than one location, the multiple offices will be listed at the top of your profile. In fact, MD.com has a nice practice manager function that allows a single log-in to manage multiple provider profiles who share a practice.
The second main section presents many patient reviews, as well as the button to add a review. Below that are addresses and Google maps to each office location. Then comes the section listing what types of insurance you accept. Between each section are horizontal ads (there are no sidebars on the profile page).
You may have sensed by now, your personal profile and bio information is waaaaaaay down the page. Their open narrative field is called “Bio,” but remember – use it however you feel is best. That means you can use to share your theory of care or practice philosophy. Sections below provide more details on your specialties, hospital affiliations and education.
Sign up for a free account with MD.com to claim your profile and update it. When you claim your profile, you’ll also get an MD.com domain (e.g. yourname.md.com) and a link to the third party online scheduling tool. While you can maintain a free profile, MD.com earns its money by providing you with a variety of premium services.
What You Can Pay For – The Premium Services
The site’s most comprehensive premium service is their Telemedicine package, which includes all the other premium services offered within it, as well as the video consult function.
You can pay a fee to become a “Featured Doctor,” which removes the paid ads from your profile and improves your placement in results lists. If you want assistance creating and branding your profile, they’ll provide these services as well. They continue their emphasis on video by providing a place on a doctor’s branded site to embed all your practice’s YouTube videos.
So there’s a lot going on here. MD.com wants to be a patient’s provider address book while expanding scope of service delivery for doctors. It remains to be seen if it can achieve both.
However, if telemedicine is a service your practice wants to bring on, MD.com might be a natural first step in that direction, especially if your patients are already going there.