Angie's List, RateMDs.com, Aetna Navigator and scores of other sites now rate doctors or, as is the case of Aetna, actually publish doctor's fee schedules. What impact will these sites have on your practice? Can you hope to have any control over what's said about you and your brand?
It is clear that these sites will flourish, over time. Angies List alone has 750,000 paid subscribers. Key to their success will be the utilization rates and the quality of the entries. A quick search of one site revealed that most of the OD's listed had only 1 or 2 patient comments, generally positive. One practice, however, stood out with over twenty entries. A review of these entries clearly indicated, given the words used and the style of writing, that the comments were provided by the practice itself. They were "stacking the deck." In my opinion, consumers can smell this kind of fraud.
There's a more effective way to ensure that these sites contain positive information about your practice while sniffing out potential problems before they end up in cyberspace (see my entry of 10/30/08). Perhaps you might go on the offensive and actually encourage your patients to participate?
Here's an example of a tool you can use.
About Doctor Rating Websites
Our practice supports the transparency afforded by the internet and the power of various doctor-rating sites with assisting patients in making their provider choices. Our research indicates that the sites listed below appear to have the best systems and the most activity in our area.
We'd appreciate it if you would visit either of these sites and make a comment about your experience with our practice. To the extent that we've provided you with a positive experience, we thank you for your comments.
Should your experience with our practice have been less than what you expected or desired, please allow us to make things right for you immediately.
Thank you for your support.
Dr. Johnson’s Family Eyecare