But industry insiders know different. Consider those patient satisfaction scores for physicians. In reality, “one can assume that the quality of care is actually worse than surveys of patient satisfaction would seem to show,” according to a 1991 lecture by the sage Avedis Donabedian, MD.
“Often patients are, in fact, overly patient; they put up with unnecessary discomforts and grant their doctors the benefit of every doubt, until deficiencies in care are too manifest to be overlooked.”
Given the constant drumbeat about the lack of care coordination and medical errors, it would seem that that some people (patients) are beginning to reach that breaking point alluded to by Dr. Donabedian. The empowered among us are starting to compare physicians (and the hospitals that own employ them) to a higher standard. A higher standard that reflects the nature and quality of the medical services physicians actually provide.
Empowered patients today are “being taught to be less patient, more critical, and more assertive.” In Donbedian’s own words, “patients are justified…in suspecting that the practitioner who has been cursory, inattentive, uninformative, or even rude has not marshaled the full potential of technical skills on their behalf. “
So how might an empowered health consumer go about finding a new physician these days?
|Here’s a list of 12 evidence-based questions that every patient should ask prospective physicians:
Original work of the author – Steve Wilkins MPH
So if you are a self-satisfied hospital administrator patting yourself on the back because of your high patient satisfaction scores (with your physician-owned practices) watch out. There are hospitals and physicians across town that “get” what empowered health consumers want…and one day soon they are probably going to eat your lunch.
Donabedian, A., Quality assurance in health care: consumers’ role. The Lichfield Lecture. Quality in Health Care 1992;1:247-251