Older adults cautious about using online physician ratings

By | January 10, 2020
senior Asian man sitting at table working on computer
(Michigan Medicine)

Online ratings can help with making decisions on everything from hotels to hair stylists. But online ratings of physicians? A new poll by the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation suggests they don’t yet hold as much sway with the Americans who use the most health care: people over age 50.

In all, 43 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 80 said they had ever looked up a doctor’s rating online. When it comes to choosing a physician, online reviews matter about as much as the opinions of family and friends — but only one in five called either source of information “very important.”

“People of all ages are turning to the web to find information, so it is not surprising that older Americans are looking up physician ratings online,” said David Hanauer, an associate professor at U-M and specialist in clinical informatics who worked on the poll. “But it is a bit of a surprise that these online ratings now carry as much weight as recommendations from family and friends.”