Relatively few patients use online healthcare provider rankings, which have drawn criticism from some providers about their accuracy, applicability and impact, according to a recent poll (PDF) from the independent, not-for-profit Pew Research Center.
Pew poll: Doc, hospital review sites slow to catch on among consumers
The latest version of the center's Internet & American Life Project national survey of the public's healthcare-related Internet use found that only 15% of users have consulted online ranking or reviews for hospitals or other medical facilities. Similarly, only 16% of Web surfers have consulted them regarding physicians or other clinicians. And an even smaller slice of Internet users has posted online reviews of physicians (4%) or hospitals (3%).
"Hospital and doctor review sites have not yet become healthcare decision-making tools for most consumers," wrote the survey's authors.
Their findings echoed those of a previous national survey that found only 6% of American adults are aware of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid's Hospital Compare tool, for example.
The Pew poll, based on a national telephone survey of 3,001 adults conducted in August and September, also found that people were much more likely to use the Internet to find information about health conditions rather than about specific providers. The survey found 80% of Internet users—or 59% of all adults—have looked online for information about any one of 15 health topics tracked by Pew, such as a specific disease or treatment. That online research includes 25% of Internet users who have watched an online video about health or medical issues.
Additionally, 27% of Internet users, or 20% of adults overall, have tracked their weight, diet, exercise routine or some other health indicators or symptoms online.
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