Older patients are paying attention to online reviews of doctors

Older patients are paying attention to online reviews of doctors

Move over, Gen X, Y or Zers, or whatever today’s youngsters are called. You’re not the only ones poring over online reviews before paying for goods and services. When it comes to making choices for medical care, Boomers are right there with you.

Aware that online reviews are increasingly available and popular, researchers at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System wanted to know how older adults, who visit physicians more than any other age group, use and value this information.

They found that over 40% of more than 2,000 adults ages 50 to 80 who responded to the National Poll on Healthy Aging said they used online ratings or reviews when choosing a doctor. They rated these reviews as very important to their decision-making, almost as high as recommendations from family and friends.

Women were more likely than men to use the ratings. And women with at least one chronic medical condition and a higher education level were tops in perusing the reviews.

That was not their first priority, however. The most important factors were whether the doctor accepts their insurance, how long it takes to get an appointment and how easy it is to get to the clinic. In other words, access matters most.

But the results counter a perception that only younger patients use this online information. Physicians need to be aware that a growing number of older patients use ratings and reviews and find this information to be very important.

Choosing a doctor is lot more consequential than picking a restaurant for a Friday night outing, of course, but patients want to make educated choices and the opinions of others increasingly matters.

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