A recent survey showed that comparatively few people were using online doctor ratings to find a physician. Owners of sites providing these reviews were both energized and depressed at the Online doctor findings. It is obvious to anyone that takes the time to peruse these sites that they are providing an invaluable service to the community as a whole. Energized, undoubtedly, because it shows they must do a better job at getting the word out about this online prescriptions service.

Performing much worse, however, are those doctor ratings sites that don’t allow the public to participate. There are several such sites, which use a complex measuring algorithm to determine the rankings. When the public is not allowed in on the process, they become rightly suspicious. Are the health insurance companies in on the game? Are doctors themselves playing a role in the system?

With a public site, which allows anyone to come on, register an account, and post a review, there is a lot more transparency in the process. People will naturally trust a review from someone in the community before they will trust an anonymous company.

In both cases, however, it is clear that these sites have a long way to go before it becomes something people just do naturally before they find a physician. Doctor ratings can only work when there are a lot of people involved in the process. Think about shopping for a television.

If you look online and only see one or two reviews, you really can’t do a lot with the information. It’s like asking a friend for their opinion on a movie. They either liked it or didn’t, but it doesn’t really help you unless you know exactly how their tastes line up with yours. The same goes for these sites. The more people that participate, the broader a picture you begin to get.

Of course, these sites are important not only because they offer such a quick and easy way to get information. They are also providing the first crucial step in making certain healthcare is publicly accountable. For too long, physicians had the same sort of protection as a government run system like the DMV. Without competition, there was no reason to improve service. Sure, there were other physicians, but who was to say they were any better? With a public service like doctor ratings, physicians are held accountable for their practices and that can only mean a good thing for the general public.