Health
3:10 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

UM Study suggests insurance biggest factor in doctor selection

A new University of Michigan study suggests recommendations by friends and family are more important than online reviews when selecting a doctor.

Dr. Matthew Davis is a pediatrician at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s  Hospital, and director of the National Poll on Children's Health.  He says location and whether a doctor will accept your insurance are the top two factors for parents.   He added, “the fact that it so far outranks, the type of practice that a Doctor provides, is a major commentary on the importance of how expensive health care is in the US and how it can really influence a family’s decision-making.”

Davis says parents should consider a variety of things in choosing a doctor. “I encourage parents as they’re looking for healthcare for their children to get information from more than one source.” He continued, “because those multiple sources are going to give parents the best chance to make an optimal decision for where to take their kids for care.”

Davis says over two thousand parents nationwide participated in the study.  All of the families had one or more children seventeen years old or younger.   

Report highlights:

  • 50% of parents say that word of mouth is very important when selecting a doctor for their children, compared with 25% of parents who say that doctor rating websites are very important.
  • Mothers are more likely than fathers, and parents under 30 more likely than parents 30 and over, to say that online doctor ratings are very important.
  • Among parents that have sought information on doctor ratings, 30% have selected a doctor based on a good rating.

Davis says the importance of online ratings may grow as more parents become familiar with online ratings.  The challenge, he says, is that currently no one is charged with verifying what is accurate on the sites.  

That’s a big difference from the human grape vine where people can provide face to face feedback about doctor recommendations.  So he says there’s “more accountability for the recommendation they gave you.”

Here's a link where Dr. Davis talks about the study on YouTube.

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom