The Right and Wrong Way to Review Your Doctor

The Right and Wrong Way to Review Your Doctor

In today's technologically advanced world, reading reviews of everything from restaurants to electronic products to doctors is second nature to many internet users. However, many people procrastinate posting about their own experiences online until they have a horror story or unexpectedly amazing outcome to share. 

Whether you have had a good, neutral or bad experience, writing a thoughtful review of your doctor is a great way to help others to determine which health professional is the best fit for them. If you have a common condition such as diabetes, it is especially important for you to review your physician and other specialists — so you can help other patients with similar medical needs find excellent medical care. Think about what type of information you would want to read if you were choosing a new provider. Before you sit down to write about your experience with your physician, consider this helpful list of Do's and Don'ts.

The Do's of Writing Doctor Reviews

1. Do Write an Honest Review

Whether you are extremely happy, satisfied or disappointed with the care that you receive from a specific health care provider, be honest. You should not feel pressured to leave a five-star review if you only received two-star care and vice versa. Different people will have different experiences with doctors, so do not feel forced to write reviews that match the ratings of the majority.

2. Do Generalize Your Health Information

When it comes to health care, there are a lot of specifics, especially for those who may have unusual health conditions. When writing a review, it is not necessary to give a lot of background information regarding your health. A simple statement of "I suffer from diabetes" or "I am a healthy woman of 30" goes a lot further for readers than detailed accounts of test results or lists of medications. This is especially helpful for people in determining whether your doctor is experienced in caring for others who have their condition.

3. Do Write a Short and To-the-Point Review

Reviews should stick to the main points and be kept fairly short. It's not necessary to comment on the office décor or background music, for instance, or detail an entire visit from the first step inside the office to the end of the appointment. Most of the focus should be on the actual services the doctor or office staff provides, unless of course, there is something lacking or unique about other features. Be sure to end the review with a conclusion that summarizes these main points.

4. Do Answer Questions

The point of a review is to provide others with information that is useful. Before writing a review, consider which questions you would have about a health care provider. Use these questions to formulate an informational review for others to read. Providing insight to the doctor's demeanor, availability and level of engagement with patients are all factors that many people consider.

The Don'ts of Doctors Reviews

1. Don't Write a Review in Anger

You have an appointment at noon and are planning to quickly return to work after your appointment. Your appointment time comes and goes, and 30 minutes later, you're still in the waiting room. Long waits can be frustrating and can throw off an entire day of plans; however, you shouldn't decide to review a doctor in anger. The doctor may have been dealing with an emergency or a difficult patient.

2. Don't Write a Review in Exchange for Discounted Services

Many review platforms frown upon businesses (or health care professionals) that specifically ask their clients or patients to provide reviews. This is because the patient may feel pressured to write a positive review, especially if there is an incentive to do so. This method hinders the truthfulness of a review and may give false information to those relying on reviews to choose their health care provider. You should only choose to write a review of your health care provider if you wish to help others determine if the health care provider is a good fit for their needs.

3. Don't Make Vague Statements

Whether the review is positive or negative, the information provided in the review should be specific. Statements such as "good doctor" or "bad doctor" are not helpful to those reading reviews. Instead, you should focus on specific qualities that make the doctor a good or bad provider. For instance, "the doctor is experienced with children" or "the doctor did not listen to my concerns" are much more helpful statements for readers trying to make a decision about their health care.

4. Don't Exaggerate

When writing, it's easy to get carried away and exaggerate facts to make a point. If your doctor made a simple mistake in spelling your last name on a prescription, for instance, it wouldn't be wise to claim that the doctor is unqualified, as such cases could be seen as an attack on the doctor's character. Likewise, if the doctor is only mildly friendly, you shouldn't say that speaking to the doctor is like speaking to your best friend. Stick to the facts, even if there is nothing remarkable to report in one direction or another.

Regardless of whether you are reading or writing reviews about positive or negative health care experiences, it is important to keep in mind that reviewing a doctor is entirely different from reviewing the local café down the street. Choosing a doctor is an important decision, and the decision should not be based solely on one bad (or great) review. Read through various reviews to get a true feel of what your experience with a certain doctor may be. Keep in mind that some people have serious medical conditions or have preferences that are different from your own. Doing so will help you make the most of the reviews.

Sources: How to Rate and Review Your Doctor

Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons: Online Physician Reviews 

Consumer Reports: How to Find a Good Doctor 

NPR: On Yelp, Doctors Get Reviewed Like Restaurants.