opinion

Patient satisfaction's impact on physician livelihood

Connected coverage — selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.

Posted Dec. 24, 2012

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Connected Coverage

Selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.
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Leaving a patient satisfied can be critical to a physician's job evaluation and pay. But what does patient satisfaction mean, and how can a doctor make sure it happens even as he or she makes treatment decisions that might not make a patient happy?

American Medical News has reported on what makes a patient satisfied enough to rate a physician highly — and how to balance giving the best care with what a patient might expect or demand.

Patient satisfaction: When a doctor's judgment risks a poor rating

Some doctors see an ethical conundrum in using patient satisfaction as a factor in rating their effectiveness as physicians — and as a factor in their pay. The problem comes when patients, unhappy that they've been denied a treatment they don't need, take their anger out on physicians when assessing their services.

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Satisfaction scores seen as crucial to physician success

Price is the primary factor for consumers when they choose a product — except in health care, where personal experience reigns supreme. For that reason, consultants are advising physicians to win over patients with convenient, personalized and warm service. They recommend that physicians deliver the best, most appropriate care while giving each patient a satisfying experience.

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Shift to medical home may not increase patient satisfaction

Researchers hypothesized that practices with more medical-home elements would have happier patients. But the data they gathered showed that didn't always happen. The problem, they theorize, is that things that the make the office run more efficiently, and can help improve care, can be seen by patients as impersonal and factory-like.

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Physician rating website reveals formula for good reviews

What makes a patient happy? It's not the physician's expertise, or the perceived quality of care. It's a short time in the waiting room and a longer time in the exam room. That's the formula for patient satisfaction one organization came up with after it read 36,000 online reviews of physicians.

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