January 07, 2020
A new poll conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and with support from the AARP and Michigan Medicine offers new insight into the way older adults use online ratings when choosing a physician.
The University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed a national sample over 2200 adults aged 50 to 80 years. Overall, 43% of older adults reported looking up doctor ratings at least once, with 14% having done so more than once within the past year. Among those adults who read reviews, 31% did so for a doctor they had already seen, while 65% and 34% did so for doctors they were considering seeing or in an effort to find a new doctor, respectively.
While online ratings were very important to 20% of respondents, the length of time it would take to get an appointment, years of experience, and recommendations from other physicians were all considered to be more important. Twenty-three percent considered recommendations from family and friends to be important, and 21% thought that the ability to interact with the physician and their office online (refilling prescriptions, scheduling) was very important.
Although 55% of older adults reported knowing that state medical boards also offer information on physicians, only 8% had ever used this resource.
Only 7% of the respondents reported ever posting a rating of a doctor, with 56% doing so after a good experience and 35% doing so after a bad experience.
“While some may think that choosing a doctor using online ratings is something only younger people may do, this national poll shows that this practice is also common among older adults,” the authors concluded.
“Online doctor ratings and reviews represent a potentially useful resource for older adults and are likely to continue to increase in use over time.”
Malani P, Kullgren J, Solway E, Hanauer D, Singer D, Kirch M; National Poll on Healthy Aging Team. Searching for a good doctor, online. National poll of healthy aging. https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/report/searching-good-doctor-online. Published January 6, 2020. Accessed January 6, 2020.