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    Health Care Reform:

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    How to Use Online Ratings for a Doctor

    Looking for an exceptional doctor? If you're like most people, you rely on word of mouth. But you can go online to size up health care providers in your community by finding out how they rate.

    HealthGrades.com

    Reviews: Doctors and dentists

    Rating format: Percentage of patients that recommend the health provider. Each professional is ranked based on the criteria you selected for sorting.

    What you can find: A list of specialists near you that you can sort based on what's most important to you. For instance, you can sort by quality and patient feedback, type of insurance they accept, distance from you, and the doctor's gender.

    Details you can see: Directions and maps. How long health professionals have been in practice, their education and training, licensing and certification, how many office locations they have, hospital affiliations, what types of insurance they cover, languages spoken, and whether they are accepting new patients.

    What the rating is based on: Online patient satisfaction reviews.

    What you can do: You can look up a rating or add a review. You can rate the doctor's staff and wait time. You can also rate how well the doctor listens and explains medical conditions. The site uses a 5-star rating system.

    RateMDs.com

    Reviews: Patient ratings for doctors.

    Rating format: A scoring system up to 5.

    What you can find: A specialist near you, the gender you prefer, one that's accepting new patients, one that's rated.

    Details you can see: When the doctor was last reviewed, number of ratings, average rating out of 5, educational background, hospital affiliations, languages spoken. The site also includes a link to the state board of medicine to get further information on a particular doctor.

    What the rating is based on: Online patient-satisfaction reviews.

    What you can do: You can look up a rating or add a review. You can rate the doctor's staff and wait time. You can also rate how helpful and knowledgeable the doctor is. The site uses a 5-point rating system.

    Vitals.com

    Reviews: Patient reviews of doctors and dentists

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