What Do Patients Care Most About When Choosing a Doctor?

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Doctors Should Skip the Fancy Web Design, Say Potential Patients

What’s most important when choosing a doctor? RealSelf asked that question of more than 900 men and women actively researching an elective cosmetic procedure.

The resounding answer: seeing a doctor’s reviews online. 59% picked “online reviews for the doctor on other websites” as one of the top three most important factors they consider when choosing a doctor. The second most popular choice? Seeing patient reviews on a doctor’s own website.

Reviews far outranked other factors often assumed to be critical to patients including how quickly a person can book an appointment, how close the office is to home, and even the practice’s cleanliness.

What's Most Important When Choosing a Doctor?

What mattered least? It’s a tie between the convenience of office hours and how modern and professional a doctor’s website looks. Only 5% of voters thought those attributes were important enough to be a top three consideration when picking a doctor.

These results were consistent across all procedure types — invasive, non-invasive, dental, and bariatric surgery.

The takeaway: More than anything else, potential patients want the thoughts and opinions of people who’ve been there, done that.

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Elisabeth Kramer is former managing editor of RealSelf Trends.

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