Vitals Celebrates Ten Years of Doctor Reviews

First website to collect patient feedback hits 9 million doctor ratings and reviews

JUNE 6, 2017 – LYNDHURST, NJ – Over the past ten years, patients and doctors have come to embrace doctor reviews. But it wasn’t always that way.

When Vitals was founded in 2007, it was the only website dedicated to collecting reviews from patients on every doctor in America. At the time, consumers were reviewing restaurants and hotels on sites like Yelp and CitySearch. But there was a backlash against doctor reviews from physicians. In fact, some doctors even went so far as to have patients sign “privacy agreements,” essentially legal contracts that prevented patients from reviewing physicians online.

Ten years later, more than 8 out of 10 people say that doctor reviews are an important indicator of quality when choosing a physician. Vitals has the largest online collection of doctor reviews – over 9 million doctor reviews for over 120 different type of doctor specialties.

The switch from fierce opposition to tepid acceptance from the health care industry was cemented in 2010 when the Affordable Care Act tied Medicare reimbursement to patient satisfaction scores. Hospitals that railed against doctor reviews in the past suddenly found themselves mandated to collect patient feedback.

Then in 2012, the book Unaccountable from Dr. Marty Makary shocked readers, revealing that most doctors knew of dangerous physicians and surgeons practicing in their midst. His advice: read doctor reviews as a first line defense.

Over the next several years, studies showed a cataclysmic rise in the use of doctor reviews. According to Software Advice, only 42 percent of consumers used doctor reviews in 2014. But today, doctor reviews are as popular as ratings for any other consumer categories.

On Vitals, ratings and reviews have always been the most popular quality resource accessed by patients. In fact, since 2014, doctor ratings and reviews on the site have nearly quadrupled.

“Personal experience has always been considered a valid indicator of quality in the provision of services in our economy. Despite objections, Vitals recognized early there was value in giving consumers a voice about their patient experience,” said Mitch Rothschild, Executive Chairman and Founder of Vitals. “We’re proud to say we’ve helped hundreds of millions of people find better care.”

As Vitals.com hits this milestone, the site has been redesigned to be faster and easier for consumers to use. New profile tiles allow for side-by-side provider comparison. Our extensive library of Care Guides is more discoverable, helping consumers prepare for their appointment. In addition, the new site shows the breadth of tools and resources available from Vitals to help everyone shop for their health care like an expert.

Vitals celebrates 10 years of doctor reviews with a look back in the timeline below:

10 Years of Doctor Reviews

2007 – Vitals incorporates

2008 – Vitals site launches

2009 – Medical Justice tries to suppress doctor reviews by having patients sign “privacy agreements,” essentially gag orders

2010 – Vitals hits 2 million reviews!

ACA validates patient reviews by requiring hospitals to collect patient satisfaction data for Medicare reimbursement.

2011 – Patient sues dentist over gag order. (Lee v. Makhnevich)

Medical Justice capitulates by ending anti-patient review contracts

2012 – Marty Makary, MD, releases Unaccountable, an expose of bad doctors and hospitals. Advocates review sites as first-line defense for patients.

Medicare starts to withhold 1% of payments to hospitals based on patient satisfaction scores.

University of Utah’s health system leads the way in posting physician reviews

2013 – 25% of patients use online reviews to research doctors, according to Software Advice

2014 – In just one year, usage of doctor reviews jumps to 42% of patients

2015 – Cleveland Clinic announces it will post physician ratings on their own website.

2016 – 84% of patients report using online reviews

2017 – Vitals hits 9 million ratings and reviews

About Vitals

Vitals empowers everyone to shop for their health care like an expert. We bring together cost and quality transparency along with innovative consumer engagement programs to help people select high-quality, lower-cost care. Vitals leads the market with incentive and engagement programs that pay people to shop. Our solutions achieve measurable and sustainable savings for consumers, employers and health plans. Vitals helps more than 120 million people each year access better, more affordable care.

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