Consumer Reports releases latest round of patient feedback

Consumer Reports has released its latest round of ratings for physician offices, this time using survey response data from more than 52,000 patients throughout California to rate practices on how well they communicate with patients, offer timely care and service, coordinate patient care, help patients stay healthy and provide helpful office staff.

The ratings, modeled after similar projects in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin, are found in the February issue of Consumer Reports as well as the free website The data come from the California Healthcare Performance Information System, a nonprofit collaboration among health plans, employers, providers and consumer groups.

Out of the more than 170 physician groups scored, doctors affiliated with Southern California's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente and HealthCare Partners earned some of the highest ratings, the Los Angeles Times reported. Statewide, 25 percent of patients surveyed complained that doctors didn't always spend enough time with them; 40 percent said they couldn't always get appointments right away; and out of patients seen, only 37 percent said they were always seen by their doctors within 15 minutes of their appointment times.

While these results suggest that all California practices had room for improvement, achieving perfect ratings in healthcare settings, if questions are taken literally, is nearly impossible, noted a post from Forbes. Nonetheless, patients often cut organizations more slack on particulars when their overall impression is positive. Strategies to create this "halo effect," according to the post, include assessing your practice from patients' perspectives, creating a blame-free culture and teaching all employees to handle complaints and concerns.

To learn more:
- read the article
- see the post
- access the website