Friday, March 15, 2013

Online reviews are affecting your health care

My friend said to me, "I have to order this test...if I don't, this patient will get angry and I will get yet another bad yelp review."  My friend is a doctor.  The test he ordered is unnecessary and carries with it some risk of complications that could essentially kill the patient. The test costs money that clearly does not need to be spent.  So lets look at this carefully:

1.  The implication is that the patient will NOT be happy with their care if they do not get the test.
2.  The doctor is more concerned about his online reputation because that is a major driver of his practice.  Poor reviews = hurtful financial situation i.e. less money to pay the bills.
3.  The fact that the test is unnecessary is irrelevant to both doctor and patient - patient wants it therefore he gets it because the doctor does not want to have another black mark against his name.

This situation has now become common place.  The problem is no one is brave enough to stand up for what is right.  Look at his words, - specifically the part about another bad yelp review.  He did not say, "I want to order this test to get a good review."  That's because happy patients don't write reviews - unless you ask them a ton of times.  Because it is not what patients do.  However, 75% of patients coming to the office today will read online reviews about the doctor they are going to see.  Thus, online patient reviews are truly useless UNLESS they are verified.  Of the 30 major review sites out there, none use a verification system.

So what are we to do when our health care dollars are being spent this way and our physicians are more worried about their online reputations to carry their paychecks then they are about the actual quality of care?  Send me your comments or go to  There is much more coming...