MD.COM: A Doctor Review Site with a Couple of Surprises
Of all the review websites we’ve reviewing popular online review platforms, MD.com is perhaps one of the most well-established websites of the bunch. Unless other review sites, MD.com doesn’t just want to provide a service for consumers to find a doctor. It wants to be a patient’s’ healthcare provider CRM and lead the way in telehealth services for doctors through its secure video function.
With more people using the internet to find their next provider, MD.com’s plans are certainly ambitious. Consumers can open free accounts through which they can review doctors, create favorites list of doctors, and book appointments through the third-party site. If their doctor has subscribed to the MD.com Telemedicine platform, they can have medical consultations from their desktop or mobile device.
However, there’s quite a bit of work needed before a patient is ready for a video consult. Let’s start with how their review system and profiles work, since this is where their provider selection service overlaps with the other medical practice review sites we’ve reviewed.
MD.com’s Doctor Finder and Reviews
On the MD.com homepage, a researching user will find doctor search options that mirror other sites, such as:
- Geographic Location
- Insurance Accepted
When we searched using a local zip code, MD.com automatically converted into “Dallas, Texas,” which is rather a larger area than the zip code we used. Immediately this raised concerns about the geographical relevance of the results, as some patients cannot drive long distances to see their provider. Yet the default list is clearly ordered by what the site calls “Best Match” with geographic proximity as a secondary sort.
If searchers select a different sort order on their results list, the default secondary sort is still by geographic proximity. The other results list options are by online appointments, distance, first name and last name. Result lists can be filtered by insurer and/or sex of provider.
While doing our research, it became clear that MD.com profiles have more provider photos than any other doctor review site we’ve reviewed. Taking a closer look, the site will scrape photos from other sites, like a doctor’s hospital page. The site does provide a link to the alternate site, making it clear that’s the image source. It’s certainly better than their generic image of a doctor in a tie.
The other interesting note about how MD.com presents results list is that it indicates if a provider has reviews, but doesn’t give any indication of the doctor’s overall rating.
Unlike the majority of review platforms, MD.com doesn’t use the standard 5-star rating system. Instead, it has a more Facebook-esque thumbs-up/like/recommend option. When searchers click through to a profile with reviews, they’ll see what percentage of “reviews” are a thumbs-up.
Instead of stars, MD.com has a fixed set of tags reviewers can select to add to their written review. The downside? All the tags are positive. It’s possible that searchers can infer that a missing “On Time” tag means that a doctor runs late, but it’s unlikely people will take the time to reach those conclusions.
One fix we’d like to see put in place are updated tags that allow for constructive criticism that let reviewers share a more nuanced review about the doctor, staff, and the office itself.
Your Profile: What Patients Will See
Like many other medical practice review sites, you may well have a profile even if you haven’t claimed it. By scraping the internet for information, MD.com can display your specialties, education and hospital affiliations. The top of your profile may have your image, as well your specialty, years of experience, and practice name and address.
If your medical practice has more than one location, the multiple offices will be listed at the top of your profile. In fact, MD.com has a nice practice manager function that allows a single log-in to manage multiple provider profiles who share a practice.
The second main section presents many patient reviews, as well as the button to add a review. Below that, MD.com displays the addresses and Google maps to each of your office locations. Then comes the section listing what types of insurance you accept.
You may have sensed by now, your personal profile and bio information is shown quite far down on the page. Their open narrative field is called “Bio,” but remember – use it however you feel is best. That means you can use to share your theory of care or practice philosophy.
We recommend that doctors sign up for a free account with MD.com to claim their profile and update it. When you claim your profile, you’ll also get an MD.com domain (yourname.md.com) and a link to the third party online scheduling tool. While you can maintain a free profile, keep in mind that MD.com earns its money by providing you with a variety of premium services.
MD.com’s Premium Services
Perhaps MD.com’s most comprehensive premium service is their Telemedicine package, which includes all the other premium services offered within it, as well as the video consult function.
You can pay a fee to become a “Featured Doctor,” which removes the paid ads from your profile and improves your placement in results lists. If you want assistance creating and branding your profile, they’ll provide these services as well. Unlike many review sites, MD.com uses their premium features to continue their emphasis on video by providing a place on a doctor’s branded site to embed all your practice’s YouTube videos.
So, there’s a lot going on here. MD.com wants to be a patient’s provider address book while expanding the scope of service delivery for doctors. It remains to be seen if it can achieve both.
However, if telemedicine is a service your practice wants to bring on, MD.com might be a natural first step in that direction, especially if your patients are already going there.