Patients don't rely on online doctor ratings.

Patients don't rely on online doctor ratings

If you've worried about patients leaving your practice in droves because of a negative comment left on a medical website, your fears may be overblown. According to numbers released by the California HealthCare Foundation, only 2 percent of patients have switched doctors as a result of an online rating. Though more people overall are using online ratings (26 percent of consumers in 2007; up from 19 percent in 2004, according to the study), most are relying on them to research a specific medical condition or medication, not to shop for doctors. Nevertheless, it takes only one disgruntled, web-surfing patient to blemish your reputation. For more on how to protect yourself, see "Trashed on the web? Now what?" In the January 5, 2007 issue of Medical Economics.