Posts Tagged ‘physician-patient relationship’

DrScore heading toward 200,000 physician ratings.

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DrScore crested 186,000 physician ratings today. Help us reach 200,000 fast. Rate your doctor at www.DrScore.com.

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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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Here is the latest press release from DrScore.com …

DrScore.com’s Four Friendly New Year’s Resolutions to Improve
Your Health and Patient Satisfaction

These resolutions for doctor visits are easy to keep!

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (December 28, 2010 ) — Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, exercise longer, lose weight … it’s time to make those annual New Year’s Resolutions. This year, the patient satisfaction and online doctor rating website DrScore.com suggests a few resolutions to improve your health and patient satisfaction — and these resolutions are easy to keep!


“One way to improve your health is to have a better relationship with your physician or health care provider,” said patient satisfaction expert Steve Feldman, M.D., founder of DrScore. “We want patients to make resolutions to empower them so they can be better advocates for their own health and well-being.”


Resolution No. 1: Bring a list to doctors’ appointments. Having a written list of all your medications, your past illnesses, your current problems and your questions with you every appointment provides vital information the doctor needs and helps you remember the questions you need answered. “By listing your problems, concerns and questions, you will be better prepared for your visit with the doctor, and the visit will go much more smoothly,” said Dr. Feldman. “Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. Doctors appreciate patients who have organized their information and have done their research.”


Resolution No. 2: Speak up. If you are unsure about a situation, speak up and ask about it. “Doctors and medical office staff should be keeping you informed about what is going to happen during the office visit, what tests are being run, etc.,” Dr. Feldman said. “If you feel like you don’t understand something, are unsure about what is happening or are upset about how you are being treated, speak up and try to address the situation in a positive, non-threatening way.”


Resolution No. 3: Get written instructions. At the end of the visit, make sure you have written instructions on medications and treatment plans, and find out how and when you will get results from any tests. “The end of the visit is a critical time where the doctor writes prescriptions, gives you the best advice on how to take care of yourself or treat your illness, and talks about test follow-up,” Dr. Feldman said. “The details of medical care are common knowledge for the doctor, but it may be new information for you. Ask for your treatment plan in writing so you don’t forget anything.  Missed test results can also cause problems, so make sure you are proactive in finding out how the office will get the results to you.”


Resolution No. 4: Give your doctor feedback. Take the time to let your doctor know how the visit went either by telling him or her, communicating to the office staff, writing a letter or participating in an anonymous patient satisfaction survey at DrScore.com. “Don’t ever be afraid to give your doctor advice on how to be a better doctor,” said Dr. Feldman. “When you give your doctor feedback — whether it is positive or negative — you are giving them a gift. And then your doctor will know what New Year’s resolutions he or she needs to make to be a better doctor!”

For more information on patient satisfaction and improving your visit to the doctor, check out “Great Medical Care: The Handbook for Making Your Visit to the Doctor Better,”, written by Dr. Feldman. Or, visit the DrScore Blog, Thoughts on 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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The pharmaceutical company Merck sent me a letter describing Merck’s upcoming efforts to implement greater transparency in their business.  This will include public disclosure of payments to physicians who speak on behalf of Merck.

This, and similar programs started by other pharmaceutical companies, is most welcome.  I think it is only fair that patients know if their doctor is taking money from drug companies.  This way, patients will get to see if their doctor is considered a cutting edge expert whose advice is sought by companies and by other physicians. It also will give patients a sense if they should be at all concerned about whether their doctor’s decisions are influenced by company relationships.

This hot topic is the subject of another Getting Better Health Care radio program, in which I interview Dr. Guy Chisolm, Director of the Innovation Management and Conflict of Interest Program at the Cleveland Clinic.

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From time to time, I will have others from the DrScore team blog here. Here’s the first guest blog from Kimberly Khanna, Director of Sales & Client Services for DrScore …

I was recently speaking with a client who was looking for ways to make her patients’ wait in her busy pediatric practice’s waiting more enjoyable. It was a large practice, and long waits were inevitable — there was no way around that.

Rather than try and tackle that very large issue (which would take a long time to solve), she decided she would start small and revamp her waiting areas.

Here are a few of the things she did:

  • Place plants on all of the tables.
  • Make sure there were plenty of updated magazines and literature for patients to look through.
  • Make free coffee and tea available.
  • Update the kids’ corner so children could relax and play while they waited for their appointments.

Anyone with a child knows how stressful waiting at a pediatrician’s office can be. By focusing on the little things that could be done quickly, my client went a long way to making a stressful time less stressful and more comfortable.

Sometimes, it really is the little things that count.

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A group of physicians was discussing how to handle unwelcome telemarketing calls, and they came up with a long list of mean things to do to the callers.

These doctors are wonderful people, but, at times, an ill temper comes out in just about everyone  — and telemarketing seems to bring out the worst in folks.

We doctors need  to remember that when we have an unhappy patient.  Even the nicest folks may be ill-tempered on occasion, just like we are.

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Hans Christian Anderson is the Danish author of many fairy tales and stories with universal themes: the “Princess and the Pea,” the “Ugly Duckling,” and the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” Recently, I was in Odense, Denmark, the author’s home, for a symposium updating physicians on the treatment of common skin diseases. I was invited to speak about my research on patients’ use of their medications.

I do not speak Danish, and I was the only American at the meeting and the only one speaking in English. When the chair of the meeting introduced the symposium, he stressed the importance of patient satisfaction. (Note: I only knew this because the slides were in English.) Then I spoke, and my talk included research based on DrScore ratings.

My talk was well received. Danish doctors with whom I spoke told of the difficulties they face achieving a high patient satisfaction goal given the realities of their health care system and the many patients they see in a given day. Apparently, like many U.S. doctors, they have more patients than they can manage and still give each one as much time as they would like. The Danish doctors were very open to the idea and importance of patient satisfaction, but felt that the huge number of patients is a barrier that they have to overcome. They seemed to appreciate how the physicians’ caring demeanor plays a huge role in physician-patient relationships.

My experience caused me to reflect upon the fact that a patient’s need for a caring, attentive doctor is universal (just like the lessons learned in Hans Christen Andersen’s short stories) — it is not just a need or expectation of patients in the United States.

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