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How credible are online rating sites for doctors?

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Quick Answer

While websites offering reviews of medical doctors aren't foolproof, they do help prospective patients make informed choices. Most of these sites offer doctor rankings based on patient reviews, which means they are based on opinion. However, the majority of sites are moderated regularly for accuracy where possible to determine it.

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How credible are online rating sites for doctors?
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Full Answer

One of the most popular doctor review websites is HealthGrades.com, which focuses on doctors and dentists. This site rates based on the percentage of patients recommending a particular health provider. It offers sorting by type of insurance accepted, distance, doctor's gender and quality. It also provides directions to doctor's offices, how long providers have been in practice, their licenses and certifications and education and training.

RateMDs.com lets patients rate doctors with a 1 to 5 scoring system. It indicates which doctors are accepting new patients.

Vitals.com uses a four-star system for patients to rate doctors and dentists on categories including bedside manner, follow-up and promptness. It allows those searching for a health care provider to search by specialty, condition or name. It also highlights doctors and dentists who regularly receive high ratings using labels, such as "Top 10" or "People's Choice." It also features doctors' educations, credentials, accepted insurance and whether or not they are taking new patients.

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