Doctors should brace for an earful about scheduling difficulties, hour-long waits, perceived disrespectful attitudes, and unreturned phone calls.
I know doctors think these aspects of the care process are, in the big scheme of things, minor annoyances that have nothing to do with their skills in diagnosis and treatment.
But perceived mistreatment by physicians and their staffs may have an enormous indirect, much more subtle, impact on patient compliance, and ultimately on quality and outcomes.
And that's why value-based purchasing "satisfaction" scorecards for primary care docs as well as specialists are just around the corner. Soon they'll be posted on some state health department websites, or on Physician Compare.
Patients across the country will get a formal chance to tell their doctors what they think about their patient experience, and some already do for physician care in hospital settings, through a patient survey modeled after HCAHPS (Medicare's Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). It's called the Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems, or CGCAHPS, questionnaire.