Consumers Using "Find a Doctor" Website Rely on Current Patients' Ratings of Physicians

Testing the value of patient-reported quality information for quality improvement and consumer choice

Pacific Business Group on Health researchers examined how consumers use patient ratings of physician quality to make selections of personal physicians. They compared consumers' use of patient ratings versus other physician information and the recommendations of family, friends and health care professionals to select a primary care doctor on a "Find a Doctor" website.

Key Findings

  • Respondents chose top-rated physicians (according to patient ratings) significantly more often than lower-rated doctors.

  • Respondents more frequently cited patient ratings as a top factor in their decision than any other type of information.

  • Of respondents who reported that patient ratings were a top factor in their choice of doctor, the most important categories were patients' willingness to recommend the doctor and the doctor's interpersonal quality.