Most Americans don't check doctors' ratings online

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Before you choose a doctor, do you check out that person's online reviews?

Most Americans don't, according to a new survey. It finds that doctor ratings on online consumer sites are less popular than those of toasters, cars and movies.

In fact, most of the people who were surveyed said a conveniently-located office, and accepting the patients' health insurance, were more important than what other people said about the doctor online.

Still, those who do check the reviews are swayed by what they find. About a third of patients who viewed the online reviews said they chose or avoided physicians based on their ratings.

Overall, more than one-third had checked out online reviews for movies, restaurants, appliances or electronics. But less than one in five said they had looked at online ratings of doctors.

The findings come from a nationally-representative Internet-based survey of more than 2,100 adults. Results were published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It may overstate awareness among the general population -- since about one in five Americans don't have Internet access.

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