Now more than ever, people turn to the internet to research products and services or read reviews to determine which is the best value. Healthcare is no different. A recent survey of online habits by Software Advice of people searching for healthcare found that of those who responded:

  • About 84 percent of patients said they use online surveys to review and evaluate physicians
  • Nearly half, or 47 percent, said they would go out-of-network for a doctor who had similar qualifications as in-network doctor, but more favorable reviews
  • Quality of care was the most important type of information searched for, followed by ratings, patient experience, physician background and photos of the physician or their office

Couple on the couch searching the internet on their laptop

Eight out of 10 of these searches started at search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., which could indicate that many people are not sure which resources to use to find reliable healthcare. Whether you’re in need of healthcare for yourself, or you’re trying to find healthcare for a loved one, you want to receive the best care available, so we’ve compiled a list of a few sites that can ease the burden of your search. This site has more than two million physician ratings and reviews. You can search by medical specialty, city name and physician gender or name. Each physician’s page includes ratings, credentials and insurance accepted. The search features on Healthgrades are similar to RateMDs, but also include searching by availability for appointments and age. The physician profile outlines whether they are accepting new patients and their care philosophy and biography.

Medicare Home Health Compare. If you’re interested in home health services for yourself or a loved one after leaving a hospital or rehabilitation center, Medicare offers a comprehensive website that allows you to search by zip code or city and view a side-by-side comparison of the services provided, the quality of patient care survey results and the patient survey summary ratings. These ratings are delivered by stars, with the higher stars being better care or satisfaction. Be sure to use Medicare’s Home Health Agency Checklist to make sure you know all the questions you need to have answered.

Medicare Nursing Home Compare. Similar to their home health tool, Medicare also provides an online comparison page for nursing centers that outlines satisfaction ratings for overall ratings, health inspections, staffing, quality measures and safety. Medicare also provides an extensive guide for tips on choosing the facility that’s right for you.

The Joint Commission Quality Check. The Joint Commission is a non-profit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States with a gold seal. These labels are widely recognized as symbols of quality for meeting performance standards. You can search to see if an organization you’ve been referred to is a Joint Commission Gold Seal organization by searching their Quality Check website. The facility you’ve been referred to may have other certifications; it’s always good to ask.

When going online to search about healthcare, remember that only a licensed physician can make a diagnosis. Going online to self-diagnose often brings about unnecessary anxiety and panic. Once you’ve learned about your diagnosis, you can use the internet to search for locations where you will receive care.   

If you have healthcare questions for yourself or a loved one, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak with a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

By Blair Klayko