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Posts Tagged ‘physician ratings’

At one of my recent talks, a doctor expressed his concern with the evolution of systems that will begin rating the quality of doctors. He described how if a very sick patient is transferred to his care and the patient dies—for reasons totally beyond the doctor’s control—it would cause his quality score to look very poor. I empathize with his concerns. Assessing the quality of doctors’ treatment results will be highly dependent on the ability to control for the baseline severity of patients’ illnesses—what is called “risk adjustment.” With the complexity of human physiology, psychology, and sociology, it will be very difficult to adjust for the impact of those characteristics on doctors’ results.

DrScore reports how happy patients are with their doctors. Are these patient satisfaction ratings equally difficult to interpret? While there may be some variation in the population at how likely a patient would give a 10 or a 0 on a rating scale, overall, patients are accurate reporters of how satisfied they are. And whether patients have a mild disease or a severe one, if they have family support or they don’t, if they take their medications well or not, or if they have a host of other co-morbid illnesses or are otherwise well, they should still have an experience with their doctor that leaves them satisfied with the care they are getting.

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2010 Annual Report Card Highlights

The 2010 Annual Report Card is based on 54,191 patient ratings collected at DrScore.com, the online patient satisfaction survey site, during the year 2010. The results provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of doctors in meeting the needs of their patients.

  • The average rating for all physicians is 7.1 out of 10, a slight decrease from the average rating in 2009 of 7.4, but still indicating an overall high level of patient satisfaction.
  • More than 66 percent of all physician ratings were 9.0 or higher, and 58 percent of all ratings were a perfect 10.
  • The average rating for physicians with 20 or more patient ratings is 9.1 out of 10, which is a slight increase over 2009’s average rating of 8.9.
  • Across the board of patient ratings, patients gave physicians more high scores in 2010 when compared to 2009 both overall and on all aspects of treatment.  Physicians with more ratings had higher average scores.  The subscores that increased from 2009 to 2010 included waiting time, doctor’s friendly/caring attitude, time spent with the doctor, following up on test results and treatment success.
  • Wait time continues to be an important driver of patient satisfaction. This year’s survey found that patients 65 and older have become less tolerant of longer wait times.  In comparing ratings for patients who waited an hour or more with those who waited 15 minutes or less, DrScore found;
  1. Ages 65 and over experienced a 37 percent drop (8.8 to 5.5), a significant difference compared to 2009’s 27 percent decrease
  2. Ages 35 to 64 had a 31 percent drop (8.3 to 5.7), close to 2009’s 32 percent decrease
  3. Ages 34 and under experienced a 40 percent drop (8.3 to 5.1), slightly higher than 2009’s 37 percent decrease.

 

  • There were little differences in patient satisfaction between men and women. In general, men tended to rank treatment success and treatment follow-up higher than other aspects, while women ranked thoroughness and friendliness higher.

 

  • In general, patients rated doctors higher on overall communications in 2010.  Close to 60 percent of the patients who completed the survey gave their doctors a perfect 10 for
  1. How well the doctor answered patient questions (61 percent)
  2. The extent to which the doctor included the patients in decisions about care and treatment (59 percent)
  3. Instructions on how to take care of the patient’s illness or health condition (59 percent)
  4. Thoroughness of exam at check-up (58 percent)

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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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The perfect physician gift? An iPad (and you can use it to invite your patients to rate you).

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Here’s our latest press release from DrScore.com …

DrScore: Physicians Should Tap into iPads, Smart Phones and Handheld Mobile Devices to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Doctors can ask Santa to tuck tech-savvy gifts in their stockings this year

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Dec. 16, 2010) — Doctors will definitely appreciate an iPad — or any other state-of-the-art handheld mobile device — in their Christmas stockings this year. With sleek styles and a wide range of medical apps, the devices allow physicians to easily interact with patient medical records, explain diseases and medical procedures — and encourage their patients to rate them at the online doctor rating website DrScore.com.

“These days, you are just as likely to find doctors carrying iPads in their white coat pockets along with their stethoscopes,” says patient satisfaction expert Steve Feldman, M.D., founder of DrScore.com. “After using the device to explain a patient’s condition or make notes in the medical record, the physician can click on the I Need a Doctor app or log on to www.drscore.com and ask the patient to take the quick three- to five-minute patient satisfaction survey that looks at key metrics such as overall satisfaction, time spent with doctor, thoroughness of the appointment, appointment follow-up and overall communications, friendliness of the staff and wait time.”

During 2010, DrScore has seen traffic to its website triple, with more physicians actively using the patient feedback provided on the site to improve patient care. “We always encourage physicians to be proactive and invite their patients to rate them online while making it as easy as possible for them to do so,” Dr. Feldman explains.  “Our research at DrScore has shown as that patients are more satisfied when they feel their physician was caring, and devices such as the iPad help break down barriers to communication and provide a shared experience for the physician and patient, leading to a better health care experience for all.”

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About DrScore.com

Founded by Steve Feldman, M.D., DrScore.com is an interactive online survey site where patients can rate their physicians, as well as search for a physician by specialty. DrScore’s mission is to improve medical care by giving patients a forum for rating their physicians, and by giving doctors an affordable, objective, non-intrusive means of documenting the quality of care that they provide. For more information, visit http://www.drscore.com. You can also visit DrScore’s blog, become a fan of DrScore on Facebook or follow DrScore on Twitter @DrScoredotcom.

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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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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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As the founder of one of America’s leading doctor rating Web sites, I’ve had many opportunities to talk to doctors about what they think of these sites.

As you might imagine, the opinions run from “what a horrible development this is” to “what a great idea.”

One thing I have  found is that no one seems to be bothered by a Web site that gives patients accurate information on doctors.  The doctors who don’t like the idea of these sites usually only express concern that the information may not be reliable.  They have a point.  Unless there are a lot of ratings, it is likely that the ratings could be skewed.

Because of that likelihood, some doctors come to the conclusion that these physician rating Web sites should be ignored or closed.  I take the opposite view.

The more people use these sites, the more representative the ratings will be.

If you’ve seen a doctor, fill out the brief DrScore survey at www.DrScore.com.  Help the public see a more representative sample of how doctors are doing.  If we can get that kind of sample, I don’t think doctors will have anything to be afraid of.

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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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