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Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

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Mauricio88

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Feb 11, 2018
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Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

I've been reading some supposed patient reviews from various dental clinics and a lot of them sound suspicious and fake. Especially if the reviews sounds over-the-top and give glowing praise. It's actually quite comical reading some of these reviews as it's quite obvious the dentist or staff wrote the review. For example, some red flags I've noticed (and please feel free to add to the list):

1. A vivid description of the office and waiting room. Statements such as "There was a gorgeous Art Deco Coffee Table Book and an authentic Keith Haring painting on the wall". Or "The wait was brief and they had my favourite magazine there".

2. Enthusiastic raving about the school/program/fellowship the dentist did. That's something the dentist would rave about!

3. How confident and happy the patient is all the time. Patients get depressed and anxious even with good results. Dental visits aren't always balls of sunshine and a review that describes things that way is probably written by a PR firm.

4. Any review that says "I'm so confident now that" and ends in "I just got engaged!".

5. Lots of technical jargon that the average patient doesn't understand.

Thoughts? Do you think it's ethical for dentists (or staff) to write fake glowing, positive reviews about themselves? I've even heard of some dentists hiring third parties to write positive reviews about themselves and write negative reviews about other dental clinics to deter competition. Seems super shady.

I usually go on Facebook and ask people what their recommendations are. That seems to be the best way. I don't trust these review websites like Google, RatemyMd, Yelp, etc because I am suspicious of fake patient reviews. And this doesn't just go for dental but also for medical, optometry, or pharmacy clinics.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Re: Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

Hi Mauricio,

these are some really good points and a good topic to think about. I always read reviews but prove them very very carefully and match it to the homepage as such and their facebook also. It's not hard to recognize faked reviews and I'm glad it is so.

What I would add to your list of obviously faked reviews are one-sentence reviews from phobic patients. Like 'I am phobic, but they really got me healed'.. if someone suffers from severe dental anxiety and have found the right dentist, this person will want to describe every detail and point out particular things. So if there are one-sentence-reviews from supposedly phobic patients then something is not right.

Is it ethical? Definitely not.. but this is a general thing about advertising.. companies buy facebook fans, pay people to write fake reviews, they all try hard to get clients and customers so it's not very surprising that some clinics do it too. For me the point is that communities like this one keep people well informed and encourage them to pay good attention to some signs to prevent them from negative experiences.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Re: Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

Mauricio,

Well, I can say I am guilty of writing too long of , too many and too sentimental reviews.. I almost think I've been kicked off my dentist site because of this lol.. but.. coming from a very anxious patient stand point. I was just so relieved when I experience a good appt, and compassionate, competant service that I want to acknowledge every good aspect . From the friendly staff at the front.. because who wants to walk into an unfriendly grumply place? or the Assistant who is friendly and engaging and patient and the dentist, because when you see them working together well it gives a peaceful feeling. To the dentist who gives painfree shots and treats you like a real person instead of a set of teeth who is honest and does his best ... like everything is noteworthy.. so I am one who is guilty of too long and sappy reviews.. with name mentioning. Could be I sound like an employee too lol but...

I totally get it. because I have seen reviews from employees of offices I've been to in past write reviews.. It would be nice of them to come out and say they work there. Actually there is one from my clinic where an employee comes out and says i am an employee so I maybe biased but....and whatever the review was.. I thought that was very honest.

What I usually do is go to healthgrades if you are in the us. There can not be fake reviews here I believe. Also I always go to the board of dentistry for the state and see if there is any complaints against the dentists in that office. I've been quite surprised a few times.

So I do go to look at reviews myself and have toned down a bit on mine since I went on a splurge a few months ago.. but. personally believe it can help.. to get a general idea. and go with your gut. It is sad the thought of them writing fake reviews for themselves and against others .. :(
 
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comfortdentist

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Jul 19, 2009
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Miami, Fl
Re: Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

Fake reviews are a real thing in health care. You did the right thing by reading the details of the review. The details of the review will tell you if this office may be good for you. There is someone in my area who has all of these reviews from far far away. Totally fake!
Angieslist are also legitimate reviews.
I have NO fake reviews. I treat people nicely and have been appreciated by most of my patients.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Re: Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

It's not just the fake reviews that are worrying - at times, I've thought of ditching the dentist recommendations and reviews section on this forum because I'm worried that some dentists who might be mediocre are getting great reviews simply because people with dental fears may have low expectations and are easy to please :(...

Of course, that's also a general problem with dentist reviews - most people would be able to judge whether their dentist has a good chairside manner (although even that is in the eye of the beholder), but evaluating a dentist's skills, competence and integrity can be far more difficult.
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

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Apr 23, 2015
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United Kingdom
Re: Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

I try to trust the reviews about the dentist at the pratice and which dentists who worked at the pratice I been going to years (nearly 34 - since my first appointment when I was probably just under 1)
 
A

Againonlybetter

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Mar 17, 2018
Messages
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Re: Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

Yes I do. Because I contribute to Google reviews about everything so people will know.
 
C

comfortdentist

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Jul 19, 2009
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Miami, Fl
Re: Do you trust patient reviews on Google, RateMyMD, Yelp? How much weight do you place on them?

It's not just the fake reviews that are worrying - at times, I've thought of ditching the dentist recommendations and reviews section on this forum because I'm worried that some dentists who might be mediocre are getting great reviews simply because people with dental fears may have low expectations and are easy to please :(...

Of course, that's also a general problem with dentist reviews - most people would be able to judge whether their dentist has a good chairside manner (although even that is in the eye of the beholder), but evaluating a dentist's skills, competence and integrity can be far more difficult.
Good point that's why I said it is important to actually read the details of the reviews. In general when there are a lot of reviews a person can read a story of how a doctor practices and what to expect. If the reviews lack detail then that's a real clue.
 
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