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Posts Tagged ‘online doctor ratings’

Pissed off patients aren’t the only ones who rate doctors — happy ones do, too.

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“You can cite all the statistics you want but I am telling you, that a pissed off patient is about 20 times more likely to post than a happy patient!”

I hear this type of comment quite often from doctors who think doctor reviews and online doctor rating are bad things.  However, I’ve run against the current on many issues in the past.  I don’t mind doing it.  My research found that tanning beds had addictive properties years before it became conventional to think so.  My research on how poorly patients used their medicine changed a lot of thinking in dermatology about how to best treat patients.  Some doctors still don’t believe me when I tell them online doctor rating is good for patients and for doctors.

Looking at individual ratings, on a 0-10 scale where 10 is the best score, the most common score a doctor gets on DrScore.com is a 10.  The next most common score is a 9.  The average score of doctors with 20 or more ratings is OVER 9 out of 10.  It amazes me that anyone familiar with these data believes that only unhappy patients rate doctors.

I can’t say that unhappy patients aren’t more likely to rate their doctor.  What I can say is that doctors have so, so many happy patients that doctors who have 20 or more ratings have an average score of over 9 out of 10.  Doctors shouldn’t be afraid of doctor reviews and online ratings; doctors should embrace online ratings and encourage all patients to rate their doctors.  Doctors have nothing to hide. Letting the public see a representative score of how doctors are doing will help the public see what a good job U.S. doctors are doing.

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A few key messages about online doctor ratings at DrScore.com.

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As we approach the end of the year, I always find it useful to make a list of reasons why we believe online physician rating is an important tool for health care practitioners (and, of course, why we think DrScore is the best!). Here are a few thoughts on why DrScore is a great tool for both consumers and doctors:

A Site for Consumers

  • All doctors need feedback from their patients. I created DrScore.com because I had learned from my own patient feedback that there is much more to great medical care than giving the right diagnosis andthe right treatment. Doctors care about their patients, but they have to make sure the patient knows that they care.
  • As physicians, we want to deliver the best care possible, and across the board, patients are telling us we’re doing a great job.  It’s a fact that often gets lost when the media only focus on the negative experiences that patients have.
  • When patients are satisfied with their physician interaction, they are more likely to follow doctors’ orders. Patient satisfaction leads to improved adherence to prescriptions, better outcomes and ultimately reduced health care costs.
  • DrScore.com is the only Web site where patients can rate their physician and know that their doctor, if he or she is a subscriber, is reviewing their feedback and  taking action. Patients complete an anonymous, validated, online interactive patient survey that are then distributed to their physicians on a monthly basis. These survey cover everything from accessible parking to waiting time and treatment access to time spent with the physician. In turn, physicians can view summaries of their ratings through the site or receive more detailed reports that allow them to “drill down” into the data to improve patient care.
  • Consumers can also use DrScore.com to find a doctor in their community. Doctors are categorized by specialty and community

A Site for Doctors

  • DrScore is a physician rating Web site that physicians send their patients to with the ultimate goal of enhancing the quality of patient care. The site is not a vehicle for selling advertising or a forum for bashing doctors. It’s about helping patients and doctors have the best medical care experience.
  • With DrScore, physicians don’t have to hire a research firm to conduct patient satisfaction research. Instead, they have year-round access to summaries of their ratings through the site and detailed reports that allow them to “drill down” into the data to improve patient care. The data is extremely detailed and actionable, and allows physicians to pinpoint exactly where improvements in patient care need to be made.
  • Doctors should be encouraging their patients to do online ratings in order to determine a truly representative score and find out where improvements need to be made. In today’s customer-service oriented world, positive feedback is equally important so doctors will know what they are doing right and continue to act upon it.
  • Data from DrScore.com has revealed that the amount of time a patient spends with his or her doctor is more likely to impact his or her satisfaction level than the amount of time spent waiting to see the doctor. Patients are willing to wait longer without becoming dissatisfied if they feel that the physician does not rush them through the appointment. A long wait time followed by a brief visit with the doctor is a “toxic combination” resulting in dramatically decreased patient satisfaction rates. I specialize in psoriasis management, and many times I can tell from the door of the office that a patient has psoriasis, and I could write the prescription for medication as I’m walking into the room. But if I did that, I would leave the patient feeling like I didn’t spend any time with him and didn’t care about him — and that patient probably wouldn’t trust my judgment and wouldn’t use the medications I prescribed or follow my treatment plan.
  • The benefits of continually improving your patient satisfaction scores are many – our data shows that satisfied patients are more likely to follow doctor’s orders resulting in better treatment outcomes.  This also leads to lower health care costs and improved productivity and profitability for your practice.

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Now here’s a doc who understands the importance of patient satisfaction.

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Winston-Salem, N.C., dentist Dr. Matthew Keider made the news with the opening of his new $1.2 million dental office.  The facility, designed to give patients a more comfortable dental experience, greets patients with the smell of fresh baked cookies and coffee, rather than the usual dental office odors.

By paying attention to the conditions of the office, the context of the medical encounter, I’m sure Dr. Keider’s patients will have an easier time with their dental procedures.  Dr. Keider is on the right track: attention to patient satisfaction is a key element of great care.

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Reuters reported that the drug company Novartis has developed a chip-in-pill technology that can record when patients take their medication.  This is amazing and, well, a little bit chilling.  The idea in this case is to help make sure people who have had a transplant take the immunosuppressive medication they need to assure that they don’t reject the transplanted organ.

Poor use of medication is way too common.  Much of my research has been on how poorly patients with skin disease use their medicine and what can be done to help patients use their medications better.

Chips-in-pills that are activated by stomach acid is an interesting, “Star Wars” approach that could appeal to some people. And it shows the efforts that the health care system has to go to in order to get patients to use their medications well — which highlights the extent of this intractable problem.

But one  thing that I have found in my research is that making sure patients are satisfied with their care and trusting of their doctors — through the use of patient satisfaction feedback like we do at DrScore.com — is one of the (low-cost) ways to improve medication use.   I’m pretty sure that we could help improve patients’ care more by helping them better use available, low cost medications than by developing new, high cost medications and taking the Star Wars approach to making sure they use it.

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I have two amazing colleagues who specialize in skin surgery.  I send many patients their way, and uniformly those patients return telling me how awesome my colleagues are.

Just the other day, I asked one of these patients what was so special.  He said they were terrific, that everything about their office was terrific, that their nurses were terrific.  He loved the way they carefully explained everything they were doing and how the nurse held his hand during the procedure.

I’m sure the surgery was good, too, but what this patient noticed, what all patients notice, is personal care. If your physician provided great personal care for you, please tell him or her. Go to www.drscore.com and take the quick online survey to rate your physician.

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Here’s DrScore’s latest press release on why physicians and patients should be thankful for online doctor ratings:

Three Reasons Physicians (and Patients) Can Be Thankful for
Online Doctor Ratings

DrScore:Online rating is here to stay … a few reasons why you can accept it with grace.’

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Nov. 16, 2010) – Online doctor ratings continue to generate controversy among physicians, and in the news and blogosphere. But proponents and opponents do agree on one thing: The ability to rate your doctor online is here to stay. Thus, the month of Thanksgiving is a great time to highlight three reasons why doctors and patients should be thankful for this method of providing feedback.

“Rating your doctor or searching for a doctor online is the 2010 version of asking your neighbor for or providing your neighbor with a recommendation — they expand our ability to find out about other people’s experiences,” says patient satisfaction expert Steve Feldman, M.D, the founder of DrScore.com. “Online rating is here to stay — here’s a few reasons why you can accept it with grace.”

No. 1: Every aspect of the clinical encounter is important for patients and physicians.

Yes, the technical medical process — whether the doctor is making the right diagnosis and prescribing the right treatment — is critical to the medical experience. But if the patient sees a shabby office, has a long wait, or feels like the physician is uncaring and dismissive, it can affect the patient’s experience and how well he or she responds to the prescribed treatment.

“I receive quarterly reports that provide constructive feedback on every aspect of the clinical encounter — from parking access to nursing to the actual visit. This allows me to concentrate on areas in which I may need to improve upon,” says Andrew D. Lee, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in Elkin, N.C. “Early in my career, I received a report in which several patients commented that I did not allow them to participate in developing their treatment plans. Because of this, I immediately began involving my patients in choosing topical vehicles and discussing the benefits and risks of oral medications I prescribed.”

No. 2: Online ratings provide more medical transparency.

Patient access to meaningful information about health care quality is important to highlight both the positive and the negative aspects of health care, according to Dr. Feldman. “Doctors have nothing to fear and much to gain from transparency. It allows patients to see the strong work of physicians and helps physicians do what they want to do most, which is making the medical experience even better.”

Much of the controversy surrounds what should be considered “meaningful information.” For example, one-sided derogatory comments by patients who may have had a negative medical experience are not as meaningful as scientifically validated data that is collected and analyzed. “Constructive feedback is useful, but comments that are hurtful can do more harm than good, especially if they are taken out of context or are one-sided,” says Dr. Lee. “I believe one of DrScore’s strengths is that people who search for a physician on this site only have access to the doctor’s averaged scores, which they may use to objectively compare with other rated physicians.”

Still, doctors may be hesitant to ask patients to rate them online because they are concerned that an isolated criticism from an anonymous source will skew the score. Dr. Feldman feels strongly that the importance of allowing patients to remain anonymous outweighs any negatives. “Anonymity allows patients a greater degree of freedom to say what they really think,” he says. “If patients had to identify themselves, some of those who had something negative to say might feel stifled or intimidated. But it’s important to note that when a doctor has just a few ratings — particularly if they only have one rating — the overall rating may not be truly representative.”

That is why it is important for doctors to ask all their patients to contribute feedback online — and for all patients to consider rating their doctors, according to Dr. Lee.  “The more feedback you receive, the more valuable that feedback is, and the more truly representative a doctor’s score is. This is a benefit to both doctors and patients.”

No. 3: Obtaining and utilizing patient feedback effectively will help control costs and improve health care.

Patient satisfaction has an impact on overall health care costs, according to Dr. Feldman. “Patients who are more satisfied with their doctors are more likely to go in for care or see their doctors at their office before they get sicker and have to be treated in a more expensive setting, such as the emergency room,” he says. “In addition, they are more likely to take their prescribed medications and follow other physician recommendations.”

Online doctor rating provides physicians with a valuable means of assessing the quality of the services they provide. In addition, they provide patients with the ability to be active participants in their health care experience by voicing their opinions and choosing their physicians on the basis of more objective criteria than traditional advertising and word-of-mouth.

“Patients deserve to be treated by physicians who provide excellent medical care in a compassionate and respectful manner,” Dr. Lee says. “The doctor rating websites that provide fair and balanced feedback are important in ensuring continuous quality improvement in our clinical practices.”

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