AMA Wire

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

This Week's News

Patient satisfaction hinges on doctor's knowledge, office experience: survey

Patient satisfaction hinges on doctors knowledge, office experience: survey

As the patient experience plays an increasingly crucial role in health care, a new survey shines light on the factors patients find most important for a satisfactory office visit.

A Harris Interactive Poll issued Sept. 10 surveyed 2,311 adults and found that 83 percent of those who had seen a physician within the last year were satisfied or very satisfied with their visit. According to a recent article in American Medical News, these satisfaction scores fall behind those for restaurants and banks but rank above those for car dealers and health insurers.

The three most vital factors for a positive experience were the physician's overall knowledge, training and expertise; the physician's ability to access the patient's overall medical history; and the time the patient spent with his or her physician. Other services patients reported they would like access to included email communication with physicians, online appointment scheduling, and online billing and payment.

Keeping patients happy should be a practice priority because it can play a part in earning quality pay and persuading patients to come back and refer the practice to others, American Medical News reports. Experts say greater satisfaction also can lead to improved patient compliance and a stronger physician-patient relationship.

An online patient satisfaction survey tool available from the AMA and Press Ganey Associates lets physicians easily and effectively measure their patients' experiences and make meaningful changes to increase patient loyalty and referrals. The AMA also offers a series of resources that provide practical tips to help physicians enhance patient satisfaction, from appointment scheduling to online medical consultations.