Grapevine or online to choose doctor?

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- Everything is rated online these days including doctors. A new poll from the University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital shows 44 percent of parents under age 30 think those online ratings are very important in picking a doc for their kids.

But many docs and patients say the grapevine beats online.

"Without being able to talk to the person one on one that gave the grade, I just don't put much weight behind it," says Laura Mulcahy, a mother of two young boys who relied on friends' recommendations to find a pediatrician.

Dr. Raymond Cattaneo of Priority Care Pediatrics notes that he has only two ratings on one website.

"And you can't get a lot of good information from two or three ratings. I see 20 to 25 patients in a day," says Dr. Cattaneo.

He says because the ratings are anonymous, they may not even be from patients. He suggests you do some other online sleuthing instead of relying on ratings. Look at the practice's website. See if there's a Facebook page or if the doctor blogs.

"Are they writing things that are important to you and your family?" the pediatrician says.

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