By: Dr. Ken Teufel
Online ratings of physician quality have less influence than we may have thought, according to a recent national survey. When it comes to choosing a personal physician, two-thirds of Americans say they turn to friends or family for recommendations. A “good bedside manner” outweighs “competence” two to one as the most important feature defining a high-quality doctor. “Being attentive,” “caring,” and “spending time with patients” are perceived as more sought-after qualities than a physician’s diagnostic skills. This just-released study was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Other key findings from the study include:
- Data on physician quality provided by the federal government are less reliable than assessments and recommendations made by other physicians.
- About half of Americans believe that higher quality health care costs more, while 37 percent say there is no connection between quality and cost.
- Patients agree with health policy experts that public reporting of treatment outcomes would improve the overall quality of patient care.
About the author: Dr. Ken Teufel is the medical director at Interim Physicians, a pioneer locum tenens physician staffing firm based in St. Louis, MO that has provided quality physician coverage to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities since 1979.