Patient Satisfaction With Their Doctor Can Be a Dangerous Thing

Posted On : September 28, 2014,   Time : 11:34 pm

Just how reliable is a patient rating of their physician?

doctor patientThat’s the question asked by USA Today. The newspaper noted that a variety of factors can go into how patients rate their doctor. Among the biggest is their overall satisfaction, which can run counterintuitively to what course of care is actually best for them. Nevertheless, patient satisfaction is a significant factor in how Medicare determines payments to doctors and hospitals.

As a result, many doctors feel pressured to overutilize tests and other medical services. USA Today quoted a study from the journal Emergency Physicians Monthly concluding that nearly 60% of emergency room doctors ordered more tests in order to boost their patient satisfaction scores. Another survey from the South Carolina Medical Association concluded that nearly 50% of doctors said they inappropriately prescribed antibiotics and painkillers out of fear of trashing their patient satisfaction scores.

And yet another study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that patients who were more satisfied with their doctors had higher healthcare costs and were more likely to die compared to less satisfied patients. That’s likely because those patients were exposed to more drugs and tests that lead to harmful side effects and complications.

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To read the USA Today article, click here.

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