How does the bandwagon effect relate to selecting a physician for care?

August 14, 2013

IMG_3157Selecting a doctor is sometimes a difficult process. There may be several choices for our care. Doctors don’t generally advertise in the U.S., making it difficult to know what any doctor considers to be her or his best points for care. Education? Experience?

For most of us, one factor will be whether a doctor will be reimbursed by our health care insurance. But even after considering that constraint, we often have choices.

Online searches for information may help us sort out some of the characteristics of each person on our list. Input the physician’s name and you will be likely to find information about their¬†education and experience. You often will also find comments from current or former patients. And you may even find rating systems, such as the use of one to five stars to rate the doctor–much like consumers rate products from cars to shoes.

Using the rating system as one piece of information to make a decision follows a long-established pattern of influence. The bandwagon effect acknowledges that what others think and do may help us make a decision about what to think or do. Those five stars give us a shortcut to having others tell us what they think and why. Sometimes, there are only two reviewers providing an assessment. Other times, there are hundreds and even more. If we see ourselves in some of their experiences, it just might save us some time and trouble.

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