10 cities with the most satisfied patients

Patients are happiest with their doctors in Oakland, California and San Francisco, and unhappiest in New York state and other California cities, according to a new study from Vanguard Communications.

Researchers collected Yelp and Google+ ratings for more than 46,000 individual doctors, hospitals, clinics and group medical practices and averaged them, ranking each city according to the average rating. The results showed that the majority of patients who review their providers online have positive views; nearly 60 percent of online doctor ratings are four stars or higher on a five-star scale. Only one in eight doctors averages fewer than two stars.

"From these findings, I'd say that doctors get much better reviews than hotels, restaurants and retail businesses," Vanguard CEO Ron Harman King said in a statement. "Another discovery is that you can find happy patients everywhere, not just in sunny, warm places."

The top 10 cities in the Happy Patient Index (HPI) were:

  1. San Francisco and Oakland, California

  2. Honolulu

  3. Indianapolis

  4. Seattle

  5. St. Louis

  6. Cleveland

  7. San Jose, California

  8. Austin, Texas

  9. New Orleans

  10. Birmingham, Alabama

The 10 unhappiest cities (in ascending order) were:

  1. Bakersfield, California

  2. Modesto, California

  3. North Hempstead, New York

  4. Sacramento, California

  5. Buffalo, New York

  6. Riverside, California

  7. Orlando, Florida

  8. San Bernardino, California

  9. Washington, District of Columbia 

  10. Huntington, New York

There was no apparent correlation between wealth and patient satisfaction, according to the study. Huntington and North Hempstead are among America's wealthiest cities, as is Arlington, Virginia, which was ranked in the 20 unhappiest cities, and Indianapolis, St. Louis and Cleveland all have lower mean household incomes than the national average.

However, a March study found that information in online hospital ratings is not varied or diverse enough to help patients determine the best hospitals, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the study results
- here's the statement