How to Learn About Doctors Online – Even When They Don’t Want You to

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It seems everyone and everything has moved online - except for doctors. Why is it so tough to find out about them online?

It’s easier to find information about the iPhone 5 – which hasn’t even been made yet – than it is to research a doctor online.

As regular Money  Talks News readers know, we advocate saving time and money by researching as much as you can online before parting with your cash – whether it’s women buying makeup or men shopping for tuxedos.

But backgrounding a doctor before you make an appointment? The prognosis is grim.

A recent patient care study, conducted by Harris and released by Insider Pages, found that most of us are frustrated by the lack of information about doctors that’s available online…

“While the online ratings and reviews category has seen explosive growth in recent years across a number of categories such as consumer electronics, healthcare has lagged far behind, and consumers have more or less settled for what they can find out about their doctors from health insurance websites.”

The study, which polled more than 2,000 adults,  also found that…

  • Over two-fifths (42 percent) of adults agree they spent more time researching the latest electronic gadget than their primary care doctor.
  • Almost one-half (49 percent) say they spent more time researching a gift for a family member or friend than researching their primary care doctor.
  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of adults wish they could find more comprehensive information about doctors online.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of adults with a PCP agree they chose their doctor primarily on location and not information about the physician’s expertise, malpractice record or online reviews.

The study doesn’t explain why doctors are so web-shy, but if you’re looking for a new doctor or are among the 42 percent of adults who are worried that they will be required to change doctors as a result of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, check out…

  • Insider Pages’s new Doctor Finder, which “contains comprehensive data and patient ratings and reviews on over two million doctors and one million complementary/alternative medicine providers like physical therapists, nurse practitioners and chiropractors.”
  • Our 3 Tips for Choosing the Right Doctor article.
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