WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Doctors should not fear reviews and ratings; in fact, they should embrace them and proactively ask their patients to rate them, according to data from DrScore.com’s 2010 Annual Report Card on Patient Satisfaction. DrScore researchers found that doctors who had 10 or more ratings on the website had an average rating that was two points higher than the average rating of all doctors on the site.
“For 2010, the average rating for physicians across the site was 7.1,” said patient satisfaction expert Steve Feldman, M.D., the founder of the online doctor review site DrScore.com. “However, doctors with 10 or more ratings had an average score of 9, and doctors with 20 or more ratings had an average score of 9.1 — a significant increase.”
The Annual Report Card is based on the results of more than 54,000 ratings by patients who completed a patient satisfaction online survey to review their doctors at DrScore.com during 2010. This year’s Report Card also showed that while the average rating for all physicians decreased slightly from 2009 to 2010, (7.4 to 7.1), it increased for those physicians with 20 or more ratings — from 8.9 to 9.1.
“Doctors who have a higher number of ratings are getting more representative scores, and they are probably more attuned to patient satisfaction,” Dr. Feldman said. “Instead of having one patient who may be frustrated or angry go fill out survey, these doctors are most likely asking all of their patients provide feedback. That means the happy patients are being heard, too — not just the ones who have a problem.
“We hope that doctors will see these scientifically verifiable results and start proactively asking their patients to go online and complete a patient satisfaction survey,” Dr. Feldman continued. “Doctors are doing great work, and the majority of patients are happy — it’s information that often gets lost in the news cycle.”
By asking patients to rate them, doctors are also providing better information for consumers/patients, so they can make more informed choices. “Obtaining more physician ratings is better for doctors and better for patients,” Dr. Feldman said. “It’s a win-win.”
As in years past, the Report Card found that wait time was an important indicator of patient satisfaction. Interestingly, this year’s survey found that seniors (65+) have become less tolerant of long waits. When they had to wait an hour or more for the doctor vs. 15 minutes or less, they experienced a 37 percent drop (compared to 2009’s 27 percent drop) in their average satisfaction rating.
“In 2009, the data showed that younger patients placed a greater emphasis on waiting time with regards to being satisfied with their doctor visit, while those over 65 were more forgiving,” Dr. Feldman said. “However, that gap has closed. This year, the 37 percent drop for patients 65 and over was extremely close to the 40 percent drop for patients 34 and under.”
For 2010, researchers at DrScore.com also evaluated differences in patient satisfaction between men and women, but found the data surprisingly comparable. The only slight differences were how men and women weighted certain aspects of care. In general, men tended to rank treatment success and treatment follow-up as more important relative to other aspects, while women ranked thoroughness and friendliness higher.
According to DrScore data, there are two issues that can destroy patient satisfaction: long waits to see the doctor or a visit with the doctor that is too short. “If the doctor is running late and keeps the patient waiting, he or she should explain the reasons for the delay and take plenty of time with that patient so the patient knows the doctor cares,” Dr. Feldman said. “In addition, it’s important that doctors provide a way for patients to give feedback.”
Dr. Feldman suggested several ways doctors could increase their patient feedback:
- At the end of the office visit, ask patients if they have any questions or would like to provide any feedback about the physician, staff or office.
- Give patients a card asking for their feedback and directing them to an online doctor review site such as www.drscore.com.
- Provide a link to an online doctor review site such as www.drscore.com on the home page of the practice’s website with an invitation to “Give Us Feedback!”
“At DrScore, we believe that to provide the best care possible, physicians need patient feedback via balanced, validated, online patient surveys,” Dr. Feldman said. “Great medical care is about more than just providing the right diagnosis and the right treatment, and doctors need patient feedback to actively improve their quality of care.”
Founded by Steve Feldman, M.D., DrScore.com is an interactive online survey site where patients can rate their physicians, as well as find a physician based on their service level preference. DrScore’s mission is to improve medical care by giving patients a forum for rating their physicians, and by giving doctors an affordable, objective, non-intrusive means of documenting the quality of care that they provide. For more information, visit www.drscore.com.