The report shows that online reviews are a critical source of information that patients rely on to find doctors.

Reputation announced new research finding that over 70% of consumers read patient reviews when searching for a healthcare location or provider.

Women were more likely to search for reviews, with almost 80% of women saying they read patient reviews before considering a doctor.

Reputation surveyed more than 1,000 customers for its research, conducted in partnership with YouGov, an international market research firm.

According to the survey,  patients are more sensitive to the number of given reviews than the sentiment of only a few reviews.

The research showed that 80% of respondents expect 5 or more reviews before they deem a provider trustworthy, and 72% will only choose a doctor if they have 4-star reviews or higher.

Consumers were also sensitive to how healthcare providers responded to reviews and complaints, with 64% saying it was important for doctors to respond publicly to patient reviews.

“The days of brand loyalty are gone, especially as the pandemic continues, and we continue to see rapid change in care delivery models as well as consumer expectations,” said Annie Hafner Haarmann, head of strategy and consulting, healthcare and life sciences at Reputation.

Google is the most common place that consumers find and choose care, with over 70% trusting and searching for reviews through Google over any healthcare provider’s website.

Google Business profiles were found to be as critical as a company website, with a majority of organic searches resulting in conversion without ever visiting the company website.

The survey also uncovered consumer preferences in communication with their chosen care provider based on their age. Sixty-one percent of patients over 35 years old preferred method of contact is a phone call, over text, email, online patient portal, or any other means. 

This number was significantly lower – at only 25% – for respondents 34 and under who preferred to be contacted via email. 

The data highlights that the younger generation prefers digital options over phone calls.

“This is the same shift we have seen in other industries, where it’s become common to read reviews before buying a new product or review a restaurant’s menu before making a reservation,” said Hafner. “Healthcare consumers are using this information to make decisions about the services and providers that are the right fit for them.”

The full report is available online.

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