Study: Patient satisfaction declines with physician education level

The most highly educated and trained physicians may not be the most popular among patients, according to a recent study from Vanguard Communications.

Patient dissatisfaction may be more closely tied to customer service than education and training, Vanguard's CEO Ron Harman King said in a statement.

"Our research to date shows that patients complain online four times as often about a medical practice's customer service – such as receptionists' cordiality and doctors' bedside manners — than about a doctor's ability to heal," Mr. King said.

However, the results suggested a correlation between poor customer service and more highly trained specialists, according to Mr. King.

The study examined online reviews and patient satisfaction scores of more than 28,000 physicians. Data was collected from Yelp.com. Researchers found that physicians with MDs tended to have a lower online rating — an average of 3.8 out of five stars — compared to non-MD providers — who had average ratings of 4.29 out of five stars.

This may be because highly trained specialists typically practice in large groups where patients may feel more anonymous and less satisfied, Mr. King said.

The top ten most highly-rated specialties ranked as follows:

1. Naturopathy — 4.62 out of five stars

2. Audiology — 4.36

3. Oncology — 4.30

4. Osteopathy —4.25

5. Tattoo removal, undefined specialty — 4.22

6. Allergists — 4.20

7. Sports medicine, undefined specialty — 4.10

8. Fertility, undefined specialty — 4.09

9. Pediatrics — 4.02

10. Podiatry — 4.01

 

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