Doctify co-founder and NHS surgeon Dr Stephanie Eltz explains that “90% of the time, people check online reviews about doctors when making a decision on which medical specialist to visit.”
“People are now commonly armed with open referral letters and use the Internet to make informed choices about who to see and what the background is,” adds Stephanie.
According to Doctify co-founder Dr Suman Saha, “Patients today have different needs from doctors. Some like everything to be explained to them, others prefer a more matter-of-fact approach. It’s not the case that one size fits all. Navigating through online reviews allows patients to match themselves with the right type of doctor for their needs.”
“Patient reviews are increasingly a big part of the selection process.”
“A few years ago, doctors unions were highly sceptical and openly against the idea of allowing patient reviews to be made more widely available.”
In 2008, the British Medical Association argued that the birth of online reviews would leave the country’s 40,000 general practitioners and 120,000 hospital doctors exposed to malicious vendettas.
However, today, doctors are welcoming and embracing patient reviews.
Doctors like Doctify’s approach, because patients receive a verification code from their doctor before making an online review which can then avoid some of the issues that, for example, the travel industry have faced in recent years.
“Doctify provides a form of screening,” says Suman.
“The big problem in the travel sector is that rival businesses have posed as unhappy customers and then deliberately leave unfavourable reviews for other businesses. With Doctify, doctors are finding the online feedback largely positive from patients.”
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a growing number of doctor-review websites in the US are now allowing patients to rate doctors in much the same way, as they would rate a sushi dinner or haircut.
Online review websites for doctors in the United Kingdom are just starting to take off.
Doctify now lists the calendar availability of over 650 doctors across 47 specialties on its site. Patients can book appointments online with GPs, Gastroenterologists (stomach doctors), Paediatricians (children’s doctor), Dermatologists (skin doctors), Ear, Nose and Throat doctors, Obstetrics & Gynecologists (women’s doctors), Osteopaths and Physiotherapists. Patients can directly book an appointment on a date and time that suits them. Online reviews are now starting to form an important part of Doctify and the service it offers both patients and doctors.