Mar 25, 2014
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Non-Student
My company collects and displays doctor reviews in the US through the website drsocial.org and I would like to highlight some parts of your article that I found really interesting.

The number of reviews is the most important element for the correct functionality of a doctor reviews website. Business model associated with review based websites works well with big data. Once you have lots of reviews about a doctor you can identify patterns in professional behaviour that you will not spot with few. For this reason it should be a very positive change if doctors will actually start recommending patients to write about their experience.

Hotel and restaurant owners on Tripadvisor have understood that a review is a customer feedback that can improve quality of service. An anonymous review written in good faith is a great source of information for the practice or the MD to understand if there are any issues with their service. You have to take in the equation that you might find reviews of unhappy patients that were expecting to receive certain prescriptions and they didn't because they were not the right ones and the doctor did right not to prescribe them. You may also find unsatisfied customers on Tripadvisor expecting to much from the hotel they have chosen. But then again, misleading can become a tool of communication instead of a cold judgement. Giving the opportunity to the doctor to publicly respond to the review allows him to clarify how certain medicines should only be prescribed to fight certain pathologies or similar topics. This way the doctor shows that he stands by his decision, gives a motivation for it, adds valuable content for future users and credibility for himself.

Another important element that should be considered is the gratuity of the service. Everyone should be allowed to sign up a free account, either doctors or patients. The service in itself has such an important value for the community that it should not be fair to ask money in order to understand which doctor can help you in a better way. Doctors, on the other side, should not pay because they should have the right to respond to the review and update his profile data for free. There can be some sort of upgraded accounts for doctors who want to be featured, however a standard free account should be available. Website can monetize with additional services or banner ads might be developed but it's crucial for these sites' success to keep the environment free.

I believe that review websites will become a strong asset in the healthcare community during the next few years and it is important to plan how much we want to help the healthcare system. DrSocial for example, decided to donate $1 to the Colon Cancer Alliance for every sign up on our website: http://www.ccalliance.org/help/shop_services.html
Converting marketing costs into medical research funds should be part of a health related site and ongoing cuts to research funds can be mitigated through a wise allocation of resources.
My conclusion is that I am happy to see patients more and more engaged in this changing process and it would be even a greater improve if doctors will take an active part too.
Best Regards
Claudio