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Five Star Ratings and Patient Surveys May Influence Patient Care

Topic: Five Star Ratings and Patient Surveys May Influence Patient Care

Online ratings and reviews have been shown to be a factor in the healthcare some physicians provide. However, it is always best to objectively choose a physician for the type of care they provide and to politely convey that you do not only want your symptoms treated, but the root cause of those symptoms discovered.

The Impact of Five Star Ratings on Patient Care

Unfortunately, online ratings and patient survey results have been shown to sometimes influence the patient care decisions made by physicians. In her brand-new book, titled Health Your Self, Janice M. Horowitz discusses this issue in-depth, and this article will explore some of the points made in her work. In essence, she notes that many urgent care centers and emergency rooms are sometimes more concerned with ratings and reviews versus the best course of treatment for the patient.

Positive feedback is especially important to doctors in these settings, since those who achieve a higher rating gain an elevated status in the clinic, as well as more conducive working hours versus holidays, weekends, and nightshifts.

To appear that they are doing all they can do, sometimes this results in urgent care and E.R. physicians prescribing quick fixes, such as antibiotics, painkillers, or even some tests that are not necessary. For example, Janice Horowitz cites one study on the use of antibiotics to treat respiratory infections. Whereas this is not normally the advised treatment method, one study found that the doctors who prescribed antibiotics anyway ranked much higher in satisfaction ratings (90th percentile and higher) than those who did not (50th percentile and lower).

Furthermore, Horowitz also draws attention to research conducted by Ateev Mehrotra, who is an Associate Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. In Mehrotra’s research, clinics and emergency rooms that prescribed antibiotics to patients were usually returned to by the patient at a later date. In other words, whether or not the antibiotics were the reason they got better, these patients believed they received the best care possible.

Honesty is the Best Healthcare Policy

The primary way to make sure that you receive the best patient care possible at emergency rooms and clinics is to be honest with your physician. For example, you can politely let them know that you completely back their decision, even if it means not walking away with a prescription or being scheduled for a test. As long as they are doing what is in your best interest and is actually necessary, you can relay that you are not interested in a quick fix and would rather know the root cause of your symptoms than merely having them treated.

Key Takeaway

In some emergency rooms and urgent care centers, five-star ratings and reviews on patient surveys may influence a physician’s course of treatment. To avoid this, it is best to politely convey that you would rather know the root cause of your symptoms than simply having them treated.

Topic Discussed: Five Star Ratings and Patient Surveys May Influence Patient Care

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