Patients Set to Unleash Feedback on Doctors

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , March 15, 2012

And I don't think doctors are at all prepared for this. They'll no longer be able to brush away a bad review as just another outlier on Yelp. In time, there will be a real cost associated with bad reviews. "Many physicians have no idea what CGCAHPS is, and that value-based purchasing is coming soon for them," says Patricia Riskind, senior vice president of medical services for Press Ganey, which administers these surveys for its medical group clients, and soon for health departments in at least two states. "And it probably will be a little shocking, at least initially."

Versions of the survey are now being sent to patients of about 100,000 "early starter" physicians nationally, whose medical groups, such as one regional Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, apparently are eager to know what patients think, Riskind says.

Under Medicaid waivers, such surveys will go out first in California beginning April 1 to patients who receive care from doctors affiliated with 27 public hospitals. Minnesota is poised to follow starting September 1, with surveys for patients seen at clinics with at least 715 patients in a three-month period. California intends to post doctor scores by name on a public web page. Minnesota will publicly post scores by clinic only.

The survey poses such questions as:

"During your most recent visit, did this provider listen carefully to you?"

"In the last 12 months, when you phoned this provider's office to get an appointment for care you needed right away, how often did you get an appointment as soon as you needed?"   

"During your most recent visit, were clerks and receptionists at this provider's office as helpful as you thought they should be?

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2 comments on "Patients Set to Unleash Feedback on Doctors"

Joel Selmeier (3/16/2012 at 12:54 AM)
Unfortunately, articulating the frustrations of patients is unlikely to protect future patients from caregivers who produce poor outcomes. When a dentist routinely installs unnecessary crowns, patient victims don't know they were unnecessary and so don't write warnings for future patients. The average victim of an adverse event in medicine never knows there was an adverse event, even when the result was disabling. Caregivers make sure of that. Patient feedback ends up being about the wait in the waiting room, not the really important matters. If patients do know something important to report, medicine is good at stopping them. So the difference that is going to be made by the coming feedback will be only about waiting room annoyances and bedside manner, not the really important things, like outcomes.

Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA (3/15/2012 at 2:59 PM)
Great article Cheryl. The bottom line in the discussion is that people are emotional creatures which is at the core of the patient experience. How we gauge quality rests on our past experience and expectations. In every encounter, patients judge quality based on everything from wait time to cleanliness and whether or not the doctor looked them in the eye or remembered their name. Physicians can't rest on accurate diagnosis and treatment to thrill a consumer when that is a basic expectation. Healthcare is personal and usually delivered at a time when the consumer is stressed, anxious and vulnerable. CGCAHPS will raise the service bar as consumers use the standardized tool to compare providers. I recently conducted focus groups with consumers and the vast majority said they had googl'd their physician. In the same session participants said they rarely went to restaurants or made purchases without looking at online reviews. Consumers value other customer opinions. The writing is on the wall.




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