Reviews Can Make All the Difference When Searching for a New Doctor

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by Carlos Briceño |

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Moving is considered one of the most stressful events in people’s lives. After moving from the Midwest to the East Coast in the U.S. earlier this year, my wife, Jill, and I certainly agree with that statement. But she’d add something else to that list of stressful events: finding a new team of doctors she trusts.

Jill, who is gene-positive for Huntington’s disease (HD), generally doesn’t like doctor appointments. As I have written before, she has white coat syndrome, which means her blood pressure increases as soon as we approach a doctor’s office. However, she requires a care team to help her cope with her illness. In the Chicagoland area, where we used to live, she saw a neurologist, a psychiatrist, and a movement disorder specialist, in addition to her primary care doctor.

It took us more than a year to find the right team, as many doctors didn’t have the level of empathy and care that Jill prefers. Back then, Jill didn’t search for reviews of any doctors. We essentially just showed up to one of the two Huntington’s Disease Society of America Centers of Excellence in Chicago.

After several months of being unhappy with the care provided, we went to the other Center of Excellence and found a wonderful team.

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This time, to speed up the process of finding an excellent care team in our area, Jill looked for neurologists who specialize in HD and accept our insurance, and then started Googling them. One by one, she read the reviews. One by one, she crossed them off her list until she found “the one.”

She read me the reviews. All of them said the doctor listened, cared about his patients, and took the time to explain things. Patients said they never felt rushed. These are all things Jill and I find important.

She called the office and scheduled an appointment.

Then, she moved on to mental health providers. She wanted to find someone she could talk with and who could help her manage her depression medication.

The same process started again: Google, scour the patient reviews, and cross people off the list. Jill finally found someone she thought might be a good fit, but after her first appointment, she decided they weren’t. Jill said there’s no reason to keep seeing a doctor if it doesn’t feel right, so she continued her search.

After an hour, she found someone else and made an appointment. However, on the day she was supposed to see the provider, she got an email indicating the appointment had to be canceled. Jill was disappointed, but rescheduled for the following week — a decision that surprised me, because she normally would have been annoyed by the cancellation and moved on to the next person on the list.

However, she said the reviews were so glowing that she really wanted to see if it would work.

I am happy to share that the visit was excellent. Jill was happy, an emotion I have never seen in her after visiting a healthcare provider. She felt she had found someone who sees her and gets her. It’s not easy for Jill to open up to new people, but she felt safe enough to schedule a second appointment.

All those hours spent looking at reviews paid off twice. Jill feels the time investment is worth it, as she is able to build a new team of doctors without wasting months with ones who aren’t a good fit. Equally important is that her fear of doctors has been lessened by her kind, caring, and empathetic team.

We’ve learned that reviews matter a lot — not only to us, but to others as well. A study conducted this year by RepuGen, a healthcare reputation management platform, found that 75% of patients prefer healthcare providers with a star rating of four or more.

It’s important to be cautious when reading reviews, as ratings are subjective and may even be inaccurate. Still, Jill and I have decided that we will leave reviews for every provider we encounter, because it may help another patient. Jill is proof that a review can make a world of difference if it helps you find a great doctor.

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Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.

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