The New Word of Mouth: How the Internet Can Help You Find the Right Doctor

It’s no secret. We look to each other for advice. As women, girl talk is considered sacred and the Internet has widened this sisterhood. With the presence of online reviews, we can find the best yoga studio, avoid a bad haircut, and hire a trustworthy mechanic all in a day’s work. And it shouldn’t be any different when it comes to finding the right doctor—especially when you’re looking for fibroid care.

“It’s often a challenge for patients to try to find doctors on their own who they know are up to date with technological advancements in the healthcare field,” says Dr. Todd Harris, Surgeon and Fibroid Specialist at The Fibroid Treatment Center in Newport Beach, Calif., and Founder of The Fibroid Treatment Network. “Initially review sites were focused around businesses like restaurants, but fortunately that has continued to trickle down to physicians.”

The impact that online patient reviews have on patient choice was demonstrated in a Software Advice 2013-2014 survey. Out of 1,438 US patients asked, 84% reported using online reviews to evaluate doctors, 77% use online reviews as the first step to finding a new doctor, and nearly half would go out-of-network to see a doctor who had more favorable reviews—even if an in-network doctor with similar qualifications was available.1

But patient-generated reviews are only one piece of the puzzle. The same survey found that 60% of respondents felt it was “very” or “moderately important” for doctors to respond to online reviews.1 “A patient should also look for doctors who constructively respond to these online conversations—whether the feedback is positive or negative,” Dr. Harris explains. “A doctor who encourages patients to engage is going to be trustworthy and wants to share his or her work with the online community.”

Willingness for full-disclosure can especially be noticed when visiting a doctor’s website. According to Dr. Harris, offering a wide range of online patient education is “by far the biggest and most important first step in building trust between a doctor and prospective patients.” Because there’s never one correct treatment for every patient, Dr. Harris believes “offering education inevitably results in each woman making the right choice.” In addition to transparent patient reviews, women should keep an eye out for doctors who provide educational components such as online videos, researched blogs, open collaboration with other doctors, and patient testimonials.

“Using the power of the Internet has revolutionized a woman’s ability to find doctors who provide the entire spectrum of care,” Dr. Harris tells Ask4UFE. “Because of the variability in education and physician skill level, nowhere is it more important than fibroid care to use the Internet to your advantage.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR   Alicia Armeli is a Freelance Writer and Editor, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and Certified Holistic Life Coach. She has master’s degrees in English Education and Nutrition. Through her writing, she empowers readers to live optimally by building awareness surrounding issues that impact health and wellbeing. In addition to writing, she enjoys singing, traveling abroad, and volunteering in her community. She is a paid consultant of Merit Medical.

ABOUT THE DOCTOR  Todd S. Harris, MD, is Medical Director of The Fibroid Treatment Center. Board certified in General Surgery, as well as fellowship trained in Interventional Radiology, Dr. Harris is highly experienced in Fibroid Surgery. Respected by both patients and doctors, Dr. Harris was awarded the prestigious 2017 Physician of Excellence Award by the Orange County Medical Association and published by Orange Coast Magazine. He was also awarded the rare and esteemed 2016 Southern California Super Doctors Rising Stars Award. Dr. Harris is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, one of the highest distinctions for a surgeon. Dr. Harris shares his knowledge and expertise by actively engaging in research and participating in volunteer work around the globe.

REFERENCES

  1. Loria, G. (2017). How Patients Use Online Reviews. Retrieved from http://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/how-patients-use-online-reviews/