Decades ago, going to a new doctor often involved asking relatives and friends for recommendations in the neighborhood. Now, in addition to speaking with people whom you know, you can go online to read reviews. You might not know anyone in the community to ask, or you may want additional perspectives. Reading reviews before choosing a new general practitioner is a smart move for a variety of reasons.
Take a Look at the Reviewers
You need to get a sense of who the reviewers are and how many positive reviews exist in comparison to negative ones. If all of the positive reviews appear to be from members of the same family, for example, you need to proceed with caution. On the other hand, you might notice one negative comment from a reviewer with no profile picture and no other reviews. One such negative comment in a sea of positive reviews might simply be a lie.
Examine the Content
At the most basic level, you can get a strong sense of whether patients have generally been happy or unhappy with the general practitioner. You also have the ability to weigh out what factors are most important to you. For example, the reviews might reveal that the doctor is quite proficient and has a stellar bedside manner. However, you may also learn that the office has a long wait time. You’ll go into the appointment actively having made the decision to potentially wait longer for exceptional service. It’s also possible that you may see many reviewers saying that they are ready to contact a medical malpractice lawyer, which is a sign to choose another doctor.
Note How the Office Responds
Even the most effective doctor in the world might not have five stars from every single reviewer. What you need to do is see how the practice responds to negative comments. If a representative from the practice responds in a reasonable way and offers a practical solution to reviewers’ complaints, you can feel a greater sense of confidence in booking an appointment at that office.
Consider the History
Of course, you can find out how long the practice has been around in other ways, but the reviews give you a fuller picture of the entity’s history. You might see that the reviews have substantially improved over the years. You may also notice that the practice is rather new, so you’ll need to conduct further research on the doctors themselves to find out where they practiced before and what types of reviews they had then.
Make sure to approach online reviews with a sense of caution and an idea of how to read the material. By doing so, you can get a strong sense of what the general practitioner may be like.
Author information: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.