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We are living in the Internet Age.

A 2011 report from the Sesame Workshop and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, entitled Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children, examined the media that are available to and used by children.  The report finds that 60 to 80 percent of households with children have Internet access.  Moreover, even among young children ages 5 to 9 years old, some 50 to 60 percent of children are using the Internet!

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea that patients could rate their medical experiences and publicly share those ratings  seemed to be impossibly difficult and impractical. That idea seems antiquated today.  The ability of a doctor rating website to provide greater transparency of medical quality, to provide representative sampling, and to empower patients to give their doctors feedback depends on patients having Internet access. And that access continues to grow.

Use of the Internet is rapidly becoming ubiquitous.  DrScore.com is proud to be one of the many organizations to take advantage of this opportunity to improve communication and make the previously unimaginable a normal part of our lives.

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t’s great to see that people are accessing DrScore research and hopefully putting it to use to make sure patients get the best possible medical care.

Dear Dr Feldman:

Re: Your paper published in Patient Related Outcome Measures

I wanted to let you know that your paper, “Patient satisfaction with obstetricians and gynecologists compared with other specialties: analysis of US self-reported survey data”, has been well received since it went online.

Total views: 576

URL: http://www.dovepress.com/articles.php?article_id=6063&l=ItAn0uejcIr9quaxAks7RURS20272

Weeks Since Published: 4

Best regards

Ms. Olliver
Dove Medical Press
2G, 5 Ceres Court, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.
PO Box 300-008, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand.

www.dovepress.com – open access to scientific and medical research

[15747]


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DrScore has shown time and again that doctors’ conventional wisdom about doctor rating — that only unhappy patients will rate their doctors online — is completely wrong.  The most common overall satisfaction score that patients give their doctors is a perfect 10.  The next most common score is 9.  Of doctors with 10 or more ratings, the average score is just over 9.3 out of 10.  And if a doctor wants to make the annual “America’s Most Loved Health Care Providers” in the United States, he or she will have to have a score well over 9.9 out of 10.

So. if so many people are so thoroughly happy with their doctors, why do we need online doctor rating at all?
First, the public wants to know (and doctors need the public to know) how well doctors are doing.  The newspaper is never going to publish a front page news story with a title like, “John Smith Sees Dr. Jones and Has a Wonderful Office Visit.”  No, if the newspaper publishes a front-page story about a doctor, It is most likely negative, leading people’s perceptions about quality of care to get quite warped.

Transparency is good for medicine.
Second, getting feedback from patients online is easy, efficient and helps doctors do what doctors want to do most: give patients great care. DrScore’s interactive survey makes it possible for doctors to get the detailed feedback they need — both positive and negative criticism —t o make their medical practice better from patients’ perspectives.

In all honesty, I don’t think Nordstrom’s or Disney would be happy with a score of just 9 out of 10, with one in 10 or one in 20 customers being distressed with their experience.  We in medicine can — and should — be aiming higher, trying to give all patients what they consider a perfect, caring medical experience.

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Suppose there was a story in the newspaper with a headline like this:

Pope calls for an end of Internet posting about rogue priests

And let’s suppose the article went on to say something like:

After meeting with the Council of Cardinals, the Pope called for ending Internet postings about rogue priests.  The Pontiff’s spokesman said that the Pope and the Cardinals agreed, after seeing a profusion of websites rating priests and posting comments about problems in the Church, that such posting was not only defamatory to priests and the Church but also unfair because priests were not permitted to respond to the postings or even to acknowledge that the poster was a parishioner.  The Pontiff’s spokesman decried the fact that only unhappy Catholics were posting material about their priests, giving people a very biased perception.  As a solution, an American Cardinal has suggested that the Church might try having church-going parishioners sign a contract in which the parishioner would agree not to post online any material about the priest or their church service.

Of course, this is just an exercise of the imagination.  But it is an interesting  to consider, particularly because many doctors have espoused contracts with patients as an answer to the “problem” of Internet rating of doctors.

The Internet is a tool, a powerful tool, which massively expands people’s ability to communicate, transmit and spread information and disinformation.  Doctors are rightly concerned about their reputations and the potential for Internet posts by patients (or by people claiming to be patients) to wrongfully accuse doctors of malfeasance, incompetence or greed.  But the genie is out of the bottle.
Doctors need not give up hope, however.  The Internet is an equally powerful tool to let the public know about the real quality of care that doctors are giving patients on a day-to-day basis.  By encouraging patients to rate their doctors online, doctors can give the public a much more representative view of what American medicine is like.  Doctors devote their lives to the quality of care they provide patients.  There’s no reason to hide. In fact, proposals to limit the public’s ability to communicate their experiences with their physicians are counterproductive, only making it look like doctors have something to hide.  Embracing online rating will help increase public awareness of the dedication of physicians to their patients.

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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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Research from DrScore demonstrates that physicians with more reviews have significantly higher ratings.

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DrScore has released the 2010 Annual Report Card on Patient Satisfaction. You can find the press release at BusinessWire or read it below:

Doctor Reviews: Physicians Who Have More Reviews Have Significantly
Higher Ratings, Reports DrScore

Online doctor rating website releases its 2010 Annual Report Card on Patient Satisfaction

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 18, 2011) – Doctors should not fear reviews and ratings; in fact, they should embrace them and proactively ask their patients to rate them, according to data from DrScore.com’s 2010 Annual Report Card on Patient Satisfaction. DrScore researchers found that doctors who had 10 or more ratings on the website had an average rating that was two points higher than the average rating of all doctors on the site.

“For 2010, the average rating for physicians across the site was 7.1,” said patient satisfaction expert Steve Feldman, M.D., the founder of the online doctor review site DrScore.com. “However, doctors with 10 or more ratings had an average score of 9, and doctors with 20 or more ratings had an average score of 9.1 — a significant increase.”

The Annual Report Card is based on the results of more than 54,000 ratings by patients who completed a patient satisfaction online survey to review their doctors at DrScore.com during 2010. This year’s Report Card also showed that while the average rating for all physicians decreased slightly from 2009 to 2010, (7.4 to 7.1), it increased for those physicians with 20 or more ratings — from 8.9 to 9.1.

“Doctors who have a higher number of ratings are getting more representative scores, and they are probably more attuned to patient satisfaction,” Dr. Feldman said. “Instead of having one patient who may be frustrated or angry go fill out survey, these doctors are most likely asking all of their patients provide feedback. That means the happy patients are being heard, too — not just the ones who have a problem.

“We hope that doctors will see these scientifically verifiable results and start proactively asking their patients to go online and complete a patient satisfaction survey,” Dr. Feldman continued. “Doctors are doing great work, and the majority of patients are happy — it’s information that often gets lost in the news cycle.”

By asking patients to rate them, doctors are also providing better information for consumers/patients, so they can make more informed choices. “Obtaining more physician ratings is better for doctors and better for patients,” Dr. Feldman said. “It’s a win-win.”

As in years past, the Report Card found that wait time was an important indicator of patient satisfaction. Interestingly, this year’s survey found that seniors (65+) have become less tolerant of long waits. When they had to wait an hour or more for the doctor vs. 15 minutes or less, they experienced a 37 percent drop (compared to 2009’s 27 percent drop) in their average satisfaction rating.

“In 2009, the data showed that younger patients placed a greater emphasis on waiting time with regards to being satisfied with their doctor visit, while those over 65 were more forgiving,” Dr. Feldman said. “However, that gap has closed. This year, the 37 percent drop for patients 65 and over was extremely close to the 40 percent drop for patients 34 and under.”

For 2010, researchers at DrScore.com also evaluated differences in patient satisfaction between men and women, but found the data surprisingly comparable. The only slight differences were how men and women weighted certain aspects of care. In general, men tended to rank treatment success and treatment follow-up as more important relative to other aspects, while women ranked thoroughness and friendliness higher.

According to DrScore data, there are two issues that can destroy patient satisfaction: long waits to see the doctor or a visit with the doctor that is too short. “If the doctor is running late and keeps the patient waiting, he or she should explain the reasons for the delay and take plenty of time with that patient so the patient knows the doctor cares,” Dr. Feldman said. “In addition, it’s important that doctors provide a way for patients to give feedback.”

Dr. Feldman suggested several ways doctors could increase their patient feedback:

  • At the end of the office visit, ask patients if they have any questions or would like to provide any feedback about the physician, staff or office.
  • Give patients a card asking for their feedback and directing them to an online doctor review site such as www.drscore.com.
  • Provide a link to an online doctor review site such as http://www.drscore.com on the home page of the practice’s website with an invitation to “Give Us Feedback!”

“At DrScore, we believe that to provide the best care possible, physicians need patient feedback via balanced, validated, online patient surveys,” Dr.Feldman said. “Great medical care is about more than just providing the right diagnosis and the right treatment, and doctors need patient feedback to actively improve their quality of care.”

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