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Posts Tagged ‘physician review’

American Medical News reports that patients would pay their medical bills more quickly using the Internet (Dolan PL, Patients say they would pay more quickly with online access).  This isn’t surprising to us at DrScore.  Facility with the Internet is rapidly becoming ubiquitous.  Patients recognize the potential of the Internet to facilitate all kinds of transactions.

At DrScore, we’ve recognized for years that the Internet can also be used to facilitate getting feedback from patients.  By sending patients a link to DrScore with the bill, physicians can seek feedback from every patient, letting each patient know their opinions are respected, getting the kind of detailed feedback doctors need in order to know how well they are doing and what they can do even better.

Just as online access can ease billing issues, the hassles, costs and limitations of paper-based or telephone-based patient satisfaction surveys can now be avoided.

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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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The AMA News published a terrific article entitled, “Negative online reviews leave doctors with little recourse.”  The article describes inappropriate practices by one doctor rating site and the privacy limitations that prevent doctors from responding to negative reviews.  It certainly isn’t a level playing field.

I’m not sure the playing field needs to be completely level, but fairness ought to be expected.  Giving patients the right to freely publish their opinions isn’t a problem.  As readers of this blog know, our DrScore research finds that patients typically love their physicians. On the DrScore.com rating site, the average score of a doctor with 20 or more ratings is 9.3 out of 10.  Online physician rating Web sites that purposely advertise for or prominently display only negative ratings aren’t being fair and aren’t giving the public what they deserve: honest, representative feedback on doctors.

Transparency is good for patients and physicians.

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Analyses of the patient satisfaction ratings on DrScore.com shows an extraordinary relationship between how caring the patient thinks the doctor is and how satisfied the patient is with the visit. How caring the patient thinks the doctor is accounts for nearly all the variation in doctors’ patient satisfactions scores far more often than other factors such as how long the patient waits in the waiting room or even how much time the doctor spends with the patient.

Notice I didn’t say there was an extraordinary relationship between how caring the doctor is and how satisfied the patient is. What matters is how caring the patient thinks the doctor is. That doesn’t mean the doctor doesn’t have to be caring. But in addition to being caring, doctors need to make sure patients know the doctor is caring.

I’ve yet to personally know a doctor who wasn’t caring. But doctors don’t always appear caring. I’m a test tube scientist, a nerd who isn’t naturally touchy feely, comfortable with hugging or interpersonally warm. While I care deeply about my patients, it might not always be obvious. Many doctors are probably like this, working incredibly hard to make sure they give patients great care, but not automatically appearing caring to all their patients.

Leaving just a few patients unsure about whether the doctor cares or not can ruin a doctor’s overall patient satisfaction score (at least compared to other doctors). As I mentioned in a recent blog, getting just a few 0s or 1s from patients can lower a doctor from having a score among the highest doctors (say a 9.8 or 9.9) to a score among the bottom half of doctors (say a 9.1 or 9.0).

Giving every patient the right diagnosis and the best treatment isn’t enough. It is absolutely critical that patients know the doctor is caring. Great medical care isn’t just about the right diagnosis and the right treatment. Touching patients, eye contact, body language — it’s all important.

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