Blog | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

High ratings for personal physicians

It's time for some good news! A study that looked at online patient ratings about their physicians from 2004 through 2010 showed that the average physician rating was 9.3 out of 10. That is amazingly high and shows that patients (at least the ones who posted on Dr.Score) are very content with the care they receive from their doctor. Even though some patients will post a nasty comment about the doctor, the overall patient satisfaction is high. 70% of doctors earned a perfect 10.

The survey asked patients to rate physicians on attitude, the thoroughness of the visit, how well the doctor communicated and how long they sat in the waiting room. It is not a surprise that the longer patients waited, the lower was the rating. 42% of doctors were primary care physicians and the remainder were specialists outside of primary care.

Patient satisfaction is finally getting attention in medicine. More than 60% of health care organizations are using patient satisfaction scores to determine physician incentive payments and large medical groups measure satisfaction and give the doctor feedback on a regular basis. Medicare will also link patient satisfaction with hospital payments and hospitals who do not rate high will lose revenue.

We read a lot about the problems in health care in the United States but those issues are usually concerned with cost and access. In fact a November Gallup poll found that 82% of adults say the quality of health care they receive is "good " or "excellent." A 2010 study by the Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems found that 94% of nearly 42,000 patients rated their physicians a seven or higher on a 10-point scale. (That group needs a new name.)

Another study I read shows that 90% of physicians feel stressed nearly every day. It is good news that that stress is not being felt by the patients and that we are delivering the patient-centered care that we pledged when we took our oath.

This post originally appeared at Everything Health. Toni Brayer, FACP, is an ACP Internist editorial board member who blogs at EverythingHealth, designed to address the rapid changes in science, medicine, health and healing in the 21st Century.