If you’ve been following us for some time, you know we’re big fans of proactive reputation management for doctors and healthcare providers.
The doctor review sites we go over in this post get traffic between 33,000 to 19 million visitors per month.
You should reach two conclusions from this: Not all doctor review sites are the same, and a lot of people are looking up doctors on review sites.
Doctor Review Websites Are Popular
They may not all be the same, but medical review sites can impact your practice. A recent survey of nearly 1500 patients in the United States found that 84% of them use online reviews to evaluate doctors. Nearly half (47%) said they’re willing to go out-of-network if an otherwise suitable in-network doctor had less favorable reviews.
You may not even know you’re on the site. Most of these sites automatically create a profile for from available information. You can “claim” your profile, which will let you control a lot of the information presented.
The profiles on review sites generally contain the same sections, although their navigation quality varies. You can upload a photo, it includes office location and phone number, and shares your education, hospital affiliations, and some sort of section(s) that refine what type of experience you have. These might be board certifications, specialties, procedures performed, or use similar type labels.
Either way, these sites can impact your practice and new patient in-flow. Take a look through our profile of six of the top doctor review websites.
Top Doctor Review Websites Used by Patients[table id=1 /]
Healthgrades gets the most monthly traffic among the doctor review sites by far – 19 million visitors per month. It has a searchable database of doctor, dentist, and hospital profiles. One reason why it might get so much traffic when compared to the other review sites is because it also has a robust section called “The Right Care,” where they post content about specific medical issues and conditions.
Like most of the review sites, it provides a 5-star review system with 5 stars being a top review. It also starts weighing a profile’s overall review with just one review. So it’s worth checking out if anyone has reviewed you or your orthopedic practice on this site, as just one review weighs your entire profile.
It also includes what it calls an “Experience Match” metric on its results lists. According to the site’s description, this score (scale of 1-100) indicates how closely this doctor’s profile matches your expressed search criteria.
All these sites let patients do a doctor search based on name, location, and specialty – or some combination of all three. RateMDs also lets patients search for doctors by gender. This site also attracts eyes with a health blog and forum where users can post questions and answers for health-related issues.
Unlike Healthgrades (and other review sites), it shows a selection of top-rated (as per this site) doctors’ profiles, along with their star rating and an excerpt of a recent review. Presumably to induce you to click on the profile. The site’s algorithm doesn’t review what the excerpted review on the home page says. When we looked, we saw homepage review with gibberish, and another that wasn’t positive. In addition, the list doesn’t change once you’ve done a search on the site, so it’s of limited value.
Having said this about its homepage, RateMDs did top the list of average number of pages visited in one session (almost 4 pages per session) and had one of the highest average visit durations (2:49).
This review site also posts short lists of top trending doctor profiles on its homepage that are unconnected to what the patient may be looking for. The best part of this review site is that its auto-dropdown the search bar had the most specific orthopedic options to search on. Other sites let patients narrow down specialty on the results, but UCompareHealthcare offered the most granularity at the search stage.
This site is very big on comparing profiles. It lets users create a “Doctor Report” that presents four doctor profiles side-by-side for easy comparison. Funnily, this report doesn’t show each doctors’ star rating or number of reviews made.
The patient selects one doctor’s profile and then clicks the “Compare now” button on their profile. That creates the Doctor Report, with the site selecting the other three doctor profiles that meet your original search criteria. There’s always one “featured” doctor in the mix – which is their pay-to-play function. Other of these review sites also had “featured” profiles at the top of search result lists, and only the “featured” profile has the “Make appointment” button in the Doctor Report.
Of all sites reviewed here, this one has the most cumbersome process to update and manage your own profile. While the other sites let you create an account and manage your profile online, this site requires you to contact them via email or snail mail.
Vitals has good vitals (so to speak) in terms of its traffic. It’s been averaging 3.4 million visitors per month and ranks 151 in the Health category, but is trending down. It came in second both for average session length (3:08) and average number of pages visited per session (3.27).
While most of the sites let you update your profile to list your accepted insurances, this was the only one that lets patients include “insurance accepted” in its search criteria.
This is primarily a health research/forum site with over 144 million monthly visitors. We looked specifically at the WebMD directory site, which gets a more modest (but not nothing) 2.4 million monthly visitors.
The link to its doctor directory is a small “find a doctor” link at the very top of the page. It includes related Google results, which may include other medical practices, above the profile search results. It also shows other doctor options in a sidebar right on another doctor’s full profile page.
Most unique about WebMD is that doesn’t only have a single 5-star rating system. It does let patients give an overall rating, but it also lets them give a star rating specifically for:
- Explains conditions and treatments
- Takes time to answer my questions
- Provides follow up as needed
Unlike the other directory sites reviewed here, only practices that create a ZocDoc profile are on the site. In fact, you have to pay a monthly fee to have your profile listed because it’s also an online and mobile appointment setting service. According to the website, it says it improves appointment attendance by seven percent, and that nearly half (45%) of appointments made via ZocDoc are done outside of office hours.
It lets users search by insurance accepted, as well as the standard name, specialty, and location. Of the six, it’s the only review site that lets you upload more than one photo on a profile.
The site lets patient give an overall rating, as well as ratings specifically for Bedside Manner and Wait Time. It also has “awards” profiles can earn and display. For example, a profile will get an “award” if it lets patients fill out forms online or provides quick confirmation of an appointment.
And ZocDoc is all about getting the appointment. The search results list includes each doctors’ available appointments for the next three days. You can just click on a time and schedule an appointment, sort of…
First, you have to select the reason why you want to see the doctor from a highly detailed list of conditions. Based on your selection, that doctor may not be available. In fact, a visitor has to select from the detailed condition list to see a doctor’s complete profile. As a user, it’s annoying at first – especially since you need to click a “Book Appointment” button just to see a profile. Once you figure out you’re not actually booking an appointment just yet, it’s fine.
Your Profile on Review Sites
There’s a lot more to dig into about each site, and we’ll take a deeper dive on these sites (and more) in future posts.
In the meantime, check out your profile on them as it is now using RepCheckup, our reputation management software. At the very least, it’s worthwhile to task someone (your in-house social media maven) to go to each medical directory site, claim your profile, and update your information.
If you need help, click here to get started with a practice marketing checkup.