Despite the fact most online review sites are a bunch of malarkey, people use them in staggering numbers. Whether they are buying a product on Amazon or doing research for a vacation, users put stock in online reviews. They do this even though there are allegations about fake reviews and studies have shown user reviews have little correlation to product quality.
It shouldn't be surprising that the same issue exists with doctor review sites. A study released in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says doctor review sites provide little utility in spite of the fact nearly 60 percent of patients "report that online reviews are important when choosing a physician."
For the study, researchers reviewed 28 sites (only 28 of 66 initial sites met their criteria for inclusion), including popular sites like Yelp, healthgrades.com, and others. Researchers compared 600 doctors working in three separate American cities.
One of the major issues they encountered is a lack of data. 34 percent of the doctors they looked into didn't have any reviews at all. That's before adding in that critical information was often missing like what language the doctor spoke, the doctor's hospital affiliation, what insurance is accepted, and specialties.