Responding to Physician Rating Sites With Transparent Patient Satisfaction Data

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Physicians know that a positive reputation is crucial when recruiting patients and securing referrals from colleagues. A concern among some physicians is how their reputation is affected by physician rating sites and other forums where patients with extreme views can post their opinion. Instead of trying to close off avenues for patients to express their opinion, Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health Care decided to address the concern over physician rating sites by providing their own rich feedback: It began publicly posting physicians' patient satisfaction scores and comments from patients' satisfaction surveys.

"We decided the best defense was offense, using robust patient satisfaction data," says Thomas Miller, MD, CMO of University of Utah Health Care. The health system began posting patient satisfaction results on its website in December. Patient satisfaction is expressed on a five-star scale based on the survey's six questions related to physician communication, and all patient comments are included.

Unlike physician rating sites, which may have only one or two reviews of each physician, ratings on the health system's website are based on dozens of patient responses for each physician. Chrissy Daniels, director of strategic initiatives at University of Utah Health Care, says the system receives roughly 375 comments from the patient satisfaction survey's physician section each week, which is how often the website is updated.

Providing this transparency helps educate patients about the level of care at University of Utah Health Care. While some physicians were at first hesitant about making their scores on patient satisfaction surveys publicly accessible, others realized that openly sharing these scores allows the patient to be their best advocate. The average satisfaction score for physicians is 4.6 stars with a low of 3.9 stars, according to Dr. Miller.

More Articles on Patient Satisfaction:

Study: Healthcare Reviews, Ratings Increasingly Impact Hospitals' Bottom Lines
Study: Countries Define Patient Satisfaction Differently

University of Utah Health Care's 5-Pronged Approach to Patient Satisfaction

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