Vitals hits milestone of 6 million online doctor reviews and ratings

Analysis of Doctor Reviews Shows It Isn’t the Doctor That Matters Most

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MAY 21, 2015 – LYNDHURST, NJ – Vitals, a company committed to helping people shop for health care like an expert, announced today that its provider ratings and reviews now exceed 6 million, more than any other online site.

Since Vitals launched its consumer website in 2008, an increasing number of people have turned to the web to research their care options. As a result, the popularity of doctor reviews has soared. A recent study found that 6 in 10 people consult online reviews before they choose a physician.

Doctor reviews have historically trailed restaurant and hotel reviews. But increasing costs and more medical choices, like urgent care and retail clinics, has encouraged patients to shop around for health care like other services.

“Seven years ago, there was no one on the web collecting reviews for doctors,” said Mitch Rothschild, Founder and Executive Chairman of Vitals. “Now, we’ve entered the new, post-reform health care era. And, just like hotel and restaurant reviews, doctor reviews are seen as an integral part of the decision process for people who need a doctor.”

In its analysis of 5,000 recent reviews, Vitals found that people rate doctors on what they know the best – the patient experience. In fact, people comment most on aspects of their visit that happen before they even see the doctor. “Time,” “staff,” and “office,” were the top three words in the analysis. In contrast, the word “diagnosis” ranked #47, implying people don’t tend to review doctors on the quality of medical care they dispense.

“Since medicine began, patients seek out doctors to gain expert advice. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t qualified to write reviews about health care,” said Rothschild. “Patients want to know they will be listened and attended to.  They want a comfortable waiting room area. They want their time respected. And they want a friendly and responsive staff. These are areas that they’re more than qualified to assess.”

The analysis included a look back at doctor reviews from 2010 and a look at recent reviews for medical specialists. Remarkably, the words “time,” “office,” and “staff,” are consistent from one specialist to the next – and even over the 5-year span.

Top 5 Ranked Words, by Year or Specialty

2015 2010 OB/Gyn Pediatricians Dentists
#1 Time#2 Staff#3 Office#4 Care

#5 Surgery

#1 Time#2 Staff#3 Office#4 Care

#5 Caring

#1 Time#2 Office#3 Staff#4 Care

#5 Recommend

#1 Time#2 Office#3 Staff#4 Son

#5 Child

#1 Staff#2 Office#3 Great#4 Recommend

#5 Time

Vitals also found that, for the most part, doctor reviews are favorable towards the provider. Out of the top 200 words, positive words outranked negative words 3:1. For instance, “great” ranked #7 and “best” ranked #13, while rude ranked #25.

Ranking of Positive Words

Word Rank
Great #7
Best #13
Caring #19
Professional #26
Excellent #27

Ranking of Negative Words

Word Rank
Rude #25
Bad #41
Wrong #82
Horrible #83
Terrible #103

“People want to share their good experiences with others,” said Rothschild. “What we’ve learned is that doctors who provide great service and care to their patients benefit from patient reviews.”

About Vitals

Vitals empowers everyone to shop like an expert for their health care. Vitals does this by creating an efficient health care marketplace for consumers – making them aware of the cost, quality & availability of healthcare provider options. Vitals leads the market with the first transparency and engagement platform that achieves measurable savings for consumers through a retail-like approach to purchasing health care services. Through health plan and hospital clients and our leading consumer websites, Vitals helps more than 120 million people each year access better, more affordable care.

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