Doctor Satisfaction Scores Up

Lengthy consultations and short wait times keep patients happy with physicians

(RxWiki News) Most patients say they are very satisfied with doctors they see on an outpatient basis. But some patients feel they are too rushed during appointments or have to wait for extended periods before seeing a doctor.

The high ratings given to doctors by patients suggest most give physicians the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge that some factors, such as insurance red tape, may be out of their control.

"Find a doctor you're comfortable with and build a relationship."

Rajesh Balkrishnan, lead study author and associate professor in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and College of Pharmacy, said it was particularly surprising that though many patients reported average encounters with their doctors in terms of wait times and physician interaction, most gave high marks to their doctors in terms of visit satisfaction.

Researchers analyzed data collected by online survey tool, where 14,984 patients ranked doctor visits from 2004 through 2010 on a 10-point scale, where 10 was the highest score. Only doctors with at least 10 ratings were included and patients could rate particular doctors only once every three months.

They found that the overall satisfaction score was 9.28, and of those, 70 percent of the scores were 10s. About 15 percent of scores were 9s, while fewer than 2 percent were ratings of 1 or less.

Balkrishnan noted that though the results overwhelmingly showed patients are happy with their doctors, the public perception that doctors are not engaged enough, are too rushed and have them wait too long stems from a few highly publicized cases of dissatisfaction.

Older patients, those who waited for shorter amounts of time and those who spent more time with their doctors gave the highest scores. The lower scores tended to come from younger patients, those who experienced long waits and patients who spent less than five minutes consulting with their physician.

The report was recently published in journal Health Outcomes Research and Medicine.

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Review Date: 
November 30, 2011