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Are obstetricians and gynecologists more friendly and caring than other specialists?.

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Here is the latest press release from DrScore. This paper comparing patient satisfaction among different specialties was published by Dove Medical Press in January.

 

DrScore Researchers Find OB/GYNs Rate Higher than Other Specialists in
Caring and Friendly Attitude

Paper on patient satisfaction published by Dove Medical Press

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 27, 2011) – Overall patient satisfaction ratings and ratings of doctors’ caring and friendly attitude are higher for obstetricians and gynecologists compared to other specialists, according to researchers at DrScore.com. The paper, Patient Satisfaction with Obstetricians and Gynecologists Compared with Other Specialties: Analysis of US Self-Reported Survey Data, (Isha Patel, Jongwha Chang, Jatin Srivastava, et al) was published in the journal Patient Related Outcome Measures by Dove Medical Press in January.

 

“There have been very few studies in the United States evaluating patient satisfaction across different specialties,” said patient satisfaction expert Steve Feldman, M.D., the founder of the online doctor review site DrScore.com. “Our research team wanted to see whether certain specialties had higher levels of patient satisfaction, and they found that obstetricians and gynecologists were 55 percent more likely to earn a high patient satisfaction rating and three times more likely to earn a good rating in caring and friendly attitude.”

 

The researchers utilized data from a national, validated, Web-based survey among 7,938 anonymous patients who rated their physicians according to satisfaction with treatment on the basis of their experience during their most recent outpatient visits. Patients rated physicians on a scale of 0 (not at all satisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied). According to the study, when asked to rate their satisfaction with the physician’s caring and friendly attitude, the average rating for obstetricians and gynecologists was 6.65 and 5.86 for other specialists. Other key contributors to overall patient satisfaction include wait time and time spent with the doctor. Overall, patients waited a significantly shorter time for obstetricians and gynecologists (average 26.8 minutes) vs. other specialists (average 29.1 minutes). Patients also reported spending more time with their obstetricians and gynecologists (9.5 minutes) vs. other specialists (8.8 minutes).

 

The researchers concluded that patient satisfaction ratings associated with caring and friendly attitude were higher for obstetricians and gynecologists compared to other specialists and that doctors’ caring and friendly attitude plays a key role in patients’ satisfaction.

 

“Even though several factors influence patient satisfaction, adoption of factors like reducing waiting times, effective patient–physician communication and involving patients in the decision-making process should aid physicians in achieving optimal patient satisfaction results,” said Dr. Feldman. “The development of online doctor rating websites with a national scope has opened new vistas on the quality of health care delivery, offering researchers new ways to probe patient satisfaction and to identify new ways to enhance the medical care experience.”

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In my recent radio interview with Jim Robinson, the executive director of a county medical society, Jim pointed out that while most people have great relationships with their doctors, there are a small minority of people who are so negative that you just can’t please them.

But as the founder of a patient satisfaction/doctor rating Web site, I like to be more optimistic. I think most conflict is the result of poor communication, and I’m sure that by showing our caring nature to other people, any person can be reached.

Joe Tye, CEO and Head Coach of Values Coach, Inc., described his positive approach to negative people in his weekly e-mail publication Spark Plug. I think he’s on to something very important. Joe Tye shared some valuable lessons about his positive approach to negative people:

  •  Recognize that other people’s apparently toxic negativity is always an outward projection of their inner pain. Joe talks about addressing this from the standpoint of managing employees and building their self-esteem, but it probably applies to all our relationships.
  •  Often, people try to ignore negativity. It is better to confront it constructively. Attitudes aren’t genetic, but they are habits. I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but I agree that a positive response can help counter negativity.
  •  Create an environment that is positive, linking behaviors to values.
  •  Teach people practical skills for confronting negativity.
  •  Avoid some problems by depersonalizing them proactively.
  •  Set a positive example.

I’m not a perfect physician, and I’m certainly not a perfect communicator. But I am a caring doctor. I have patients who aren’t entirely happy with me at times. Getting defensive or arguing with these patients only exacerbates the problem. Discharging those patients to another practice certainly doesn’t help me achieve my goal of giving patients great medical care.

I’ve found that the most basic principle of patient satisfaction — that patients want a caring, empathetic doctor — helps avoid the “nuclear option” of severing a relationship with the patient. Admitting to the patient that things aren’t perfect, but that the doctor really is trying to help, can diffuse much of the anger. Reinforcing patients’ internal sense that they are right — and they are always right when it comes to knowing their satisfaction with their care — helps alleviate the internal issues that Joe Tye recognizes are the source of the negativity.

If this issue comes up for you, try this: “I know things didn’t go perfectly well today, but I am trying. I need your help. Please let me know what you thought could have gone better. You can tell me directly, or if you prefer to give me anonymous feedback, you can do it online at the DrScore.com Web site.”

It is amazing that some of the most unhappy patients can become some of the most devoted when they come to realize how much their doctors care about them.

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