How are Doctors Judged by Patients?

stethoscope free stock.jpgHow do patients judge their physicians?

A recent survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research included random phone calls to 1,000 adults age 18 and older throughout the country to gauge how they evaluate doctors. Almost six in 10 gave a factor they considered most important in measuring a doctor's skill that was linked to the physician's personality and how he or she relates to the patient. Only 29 percent said that delivery of care or the treatment outcome was their most important consideration.

Factors for Rating Doctors

Other survey findings on quality of physician care include:

  • 11 percent highly valued a doctor's ability to accurately diagnose and fix a medical condition
  • The impression left after a face-to-face meeting with a doctor was "important or extremely important" to 81 percent of the respondents
  • The most common factor given (17 percent) in what makes a poor-value doctor was inattentiveness or not listening to the patient
  • 46 percent of the patients said that physician ratings on websites are "not too important or not important at all" when determining a high-quality doctor

So what to make of this? One conclusion is that choosing a competent doctor can be difficult. Given this study's results, a doctor who misdiagnoses a problem or a doctor found liable for medical malpractice but who has a pleasant personality may be popular with patients.

Times of healthcare crises are stressful, and the burden of finding a proven, high-quality doctor only adds to the stress. Every patient deserves an acceptable level of care. When that standard is not met, when physicians make avoidable mistakes and patients suffer, healthcare providers should be held accountable.

If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of a catastrophic medical error, you may want to contact an attorney experienced in investigating cases of medical malpractice


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