While that process continues to play out today, as more and more of our offline world finds rebirth online – particularly across social networks and interactive forums – it appears the doctor search has adopted a new life as well. There are literally dozens of sources online that not only locate and recommend doctors, but rate them according to standard scales or based upon user (or rather, patient) submitted reviews and recommendations. In a sense, these outlets can streamline the physician search process, offering similarly personal insight as a cocktail party recommendation or introduction, but speeding up the process through the benefits of online information search.
Yet for many physicians (and NC medical students alike), caveats abound as not all feedback is positive feedback, and not all sites are reputable. Here are some of the noteworthy forums that doctors should be aware of:
HealthGrades.com – In its quest towards “guiding America to better healthcare,” HealthGrades boasts research and background information on more than 600,000 physicians nationwide. It allows curious visitors to search according to Doctor Name, or simply according to their geographic location and the specialty they are seeking. HealthGrades also profiles information on hospitals and nurses, providing would-be patients with information to select “physicians who meet nationally recognized quality standards of excellence for quality care and patient outcomes.”
WebMD Physician Directory – Enjoying more than 15M monthly web visitors, WebMD is general recognized as the gold standard in online medical information, primarily though its advanced search technology and self-diagnosis capability (for better or for worse, it’s a popular – and free – offering). Touting similarly impressive statistics, the WebMD Physician Directory is popular among monthly visitors, offering capabilities similar to HealthGrades in terms of physician search by location.
UCompareHealthcare.com – Another apparent catch-all for information on North Carolina physicians, UCompareHealthcare is a massive online directory of doctors and nurses across the state. It also allows visitors to compare doctors within, and across, towns in North Carolina.
DrScore.com – More interactive than the previous three, DrScore.com is a robust state-wide directory that allows visitors to “score” (review) doctors based on their most recent visit or consultation. It does not project the same polish or professionalism as the aforementioned – or the NC Medical Society or NC Medical Board, for that matter – but as it enjoys more than 100,000 unique visitors every month, it’s certainly a site that should stay on the radar.
Angie’s List – Still one of the most popular service provider review sites on the web, Angie’s List features a wide array of physician and hospital reviews from open, honest, and identifiable sources (no anonymous reviews here). Also one of the most trusted sites on the Web, Angie’s List Physician reviews is one more portal for the NC healthcare community to be aware of.
NC Doctors and medical students – long story short, your aptitude, approachability, and general professionalism is being graded whether you know it or not. Granted, these are not official reviews, but undoubtedly man would-be patients are putting stock in the results. Such being the case, it may be worth your while to spend at least some time perusing the web, responding to criticism or feedback as you see fit. The best way to ensure the right information is out there is to make sure you see what’s out there, and respond accordingly. And who knows – you may just enjoy a few more patients walking through the door based on your reviews.