Sunday, August 26, 2012

Information on the Internet

How can a patient successfully navigate the information and the misinformation on the internet?  It is difficult as it is to select a doctor to help you with your HEALTH.  But what happens when you read a post on review site that offers information that is MADE UP?  This has happened to my patients over and over again.  Its because the internet does not qualify its reviewers.  The internet is not a doctor nor does it have any interest, good or bad, in moderating or confirming information that is presented.  Thus, patients are forced to make sense of the information they find and make decisions based on their own interpretation of the information.

Lets look at one example of a recent patient who came to me two years ago for a consultation.  She was referred in by another surgeon who said I could help her with her revision rhinoplasty.  We met and had a great consultation and her problems were manageable with revision rhinoplasty.  However, she never booked surgery.  Recently, she returned after having her operation elsewhere and her nose looked much worse!  I asked what happened and she said that she had read that I was a criminal and hit patients after surgery.  She read review sites that stated how I was wanted by the FBI and that my medical licenses was being taken away - all of which were false.  So she had surgery elsewhere.  As she contemplated her poor result from her choice, she realized AFTER THE FACT, that the reviews were probably not correct and she did some research of her own.  She found out that my license was current and with no problems.  She also made the connection that the FBI probably would not have any trouble finding me during my office hours as she had been able to find me.  Thus, she concluded that I was probably not wanted by the FBI.   So she returned for another consultation with me to assess the current situation.

The point of the story is do not read the reviews and stories from the internet without verifying the information yourself.  There is no way to know if the reviews are written by patients or marketers or someone totally random who loves to write reviews.  There are elite squads or reviewers you can hire to have them come to your business and review it.  There are services in countries other than the US who can flood your review sites, etc.  You can read some verified patient reviews here:

The best way to choose your doctor is to speak to former patients and get referrals from your physician.  Any top doctor in the top markets has competition and patients who are not happy with how things went at that practice.  It does not mean you will not have a great experience.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about internet reviews.

Jay Calvert, MD, FACS