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Poor Service Bedside Manner Top Patients' Online Complaints

Review of 'rate-your-doctor' websites reveals patients' most common gripes

FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- On "rate-your-doctor" websites, patients complain more about poor bedside manner and unprofessional office staff than inadequate medical skills, according to a recent multi-city study published by Vanguard Communications.

Researchers reviewed the Yelp, Vitals, and RateMDs websites to find the most common complaints patients have about their physicians. Over 3,500 online reviews of 300 physicians (internists and obstetrician-gynecologists) in Denver, New York City, San Diego, and Austin, Texas, were assessed.

The researchers found that 53 percent of the online reviews gave physicians no greater than two stars out of a possible four or five stars. The top complaints lodged by patients were poor bedside manner/doctor indifference (43.1 percent); poor customer service (35.3 percent); and inadequate medical skills (21.5 percent), including false diagnoses and surgical mistakes.

One complaint regarding poor bedside manner and doctor indifference read: "Dr. Y glanced at my breast lump and quickly gave me a diagnosis of 'cyst' because I was too young to have anything else. He didn't even do an ultrasound! Well, it turns out my 'cyst' was cancer." Another comment, summing up a common theme on customer service, read: "Not a nice office. Doctor himself is very nice. Would be better if he surrounded himself with better staff."

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