No doctor that I know likes to be graded via “physician satisfaction surveys”. The reason is that it magnifies the differences between doctors and administrators. Administrators think we should be run like a fast food restaurant or American Eagle store. Doctors understand that saying “no” to demands of antibiotics, narcotics, and expensive procedure requests may be the right answer even though it doesn’t make the patient happy. This argument seems to be never-ending without a good way to solve it…..until now.
A new study from a team of UC Davis researchers found that people who are the most satisfied with their doctors are more likely to be hospitalized, accumulate more health-care and drug expenditures, and have higher death rates than patients who are less satisfied with their care.
Maybe we should rethink the value of these physician satisfaction surveys which remain not only a nuisance and statistically insignificant , but now may also be problematic? If worrying about patient satisfaction surveys has these effects then maybe the axiom of “first, do no harm” should take precedence?