Patients looking for a new doctor are increasingly relying on online reviews to find the right fit, says a new survey from software ratings and research firm Software Advice.

In fact the survey of 1,438 consumers finds that 84% of patients now use online reviews to evaluate physicians and more than three-quarters (77%) use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor.

The frequency with which patients use reviews sites varies, but a majority do so regularly59% of consumers report using web reviews of doctors often or sometimes, while 25% use them rarely.

This data suggests patients are finding a great deal of value in online reviews of medical practices, says the Software Advice survey. Whats more, this dynamic can make or break a medical practices online reputation. Its not just that so many patients are using reviewsits that those reviews are often the first thing patients see.

Whether a physician is a part of a particular health plan network isnt a patients sole criterion in picking a new care giver. The survey finds that consumers use online ratings and reviews to find the doctor with the best reputation. Nearly half of respondents (47%) say they would go out of network for a doctor who has similar qualifications to an in-network doctor, but has more favorable reviews.


Most consumers seem to like the doctors they go to, with only 6% of patients leaving very negative or somewhat negative feedback on review sites, according to the Software Advice survey. If a patient posts a negative review others pay close attention to how the doctor responds. 60% of consumers believe it is very or moderately important for doctors to post a response, according to the survey.

These results show that online reviews do play a role in patient retention, says the Software Advice survey Its clear that most patients are consulting reviews to decide whether they should make a first appointment with a provider.