Recent data from online patient satisfaction leader debunks five myths about U.S. medical care
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- From news reports to prime time medical shows, there is a media image of doctors and patients we have all become accustomed to seeing. The suffering patient who is waiting and waiting to see the doctor. The arrogant, harried doctor who is brusque, dismissive and doesn’t really listen. But this media image is largely fiction, say researchers at DrScore.com, the only doctor rating website using a scientifically validated survey design that has been recognized by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
DrScore analyzed data on 15,000 patient visits. “We wanted to get a true, representative picture of whether patients are happy or unhappy with their doctors,” said patient satisfaction expert Steve Feldman, M.D., founder of DrScore. “Patients reported their waiting times, how much time the doctor spent with them, and their satisfaction with several aspects of the care (rating the doctors on a 0-10 scale where 0 is worst and 10 is the best). Each of these doctors had at least 10 ratings in order to ensure a reasonably representative sampling of their practice. From the data, we identified five important facts vs. fiction about doctors and patients — facts that you’re not likely to see portrayed in the media."
1. Fiction: Doctors are always running behind and keeping patients waiting.
Fact: The majority — 64 percent — of patients waited less than 15 minutes for their doctor, and 88 percent waited less than 30 minutes.
2. Fiction: Doctors are always too rushed during patient appointments.
Fact: Sixty-eight percent of patients reported having a visit of 15 minutes or more with their doctor. More than 45 percent of patients reported having a short wait (15 minutes or less) and a long visit (15 minutes or more), which makes for the most satisfied patients.
3. Fiction: Doctors don’t really listen to patients’ concerns or give them good advice.
Fact: The mean score for how well doctors answered patients’ questions was a 9.4 out of 10; the mean score for instructions on how to care for an illness was 9.1; the mean score for the extent to which the doctor included the patient in decision-making was a 9.3; and the mean score for how well the doctor followed up on problems or concerns was a 9.4.
4. Fiction: Doctors are brusque, unfriendly and don’t really care about patients.
Fact: The mean score for doctors’ “friendly, caring attitude” was 9.4.
5. Fiction: Patients are not satisfied with their doctors.
Fact: The average patient satisfaction score for physicians was a 9.3 out of 10. More than 90 percent of the ratings were an 8, 9 or 10, and over 70 percent of the ratings were a perfect 10.
“I often hear concerns that doctor rating websites are just complaint sites — a place where unhappy patients go to air their grievances,” Dr. Feldman says. “DrScore data just doesn’t match up to that concern.
“There are more than 2 million office visits to U.S. doctors every day — over 800 million visits per year,” Dr. Feldman continues. “Although the vast majority of those visits are terrific, none of those millions of terrific visits make newspaper headlines. DrScore helps the public see what’s really happening in medicine and is part of an online information revolution, providing much greater transparency regarding the quality of medical care as assessed from the patient’s perspective. Whether the data are good or bad, these are important data for physicians and the public to have. And right now, our data shows that U.S. physicians are doing a great job.”
Founded by Steve Feldman, M.D., DrScore.com is an interactive online survey site where patients can rate their physicians, as well as find a physician based on their service level preference. DrScore’s mission is to improve medical care by giving patients a means to give their doctors feedback, and by giving doctors an affordable, objective, non-intrusive means of documenting the quality of care that they provide. For more information, visit www.drscore.com.
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