The power of warm and fuzzies

Apparently patients thought friendly doctors with great bedside-manner were acceptable, even if they missed almost half of the recommended quality measures:

The patients, all of whom were enrolled in Medicare managed-care plans, received about 55% of the recommended care for protocols such as prompt medication after heart failure and appropriate evaluation after a fall, the study said. But most patients rated all the health care they received in the past year as 10 out of 10.

Patients are more likely to say they’re highly satisfied if they communicate well or have a good rapport with their doctors, but that doesn’t always correlate with sound care, said Dr. Neil Wenger, the senior author of the report and a general internist at the University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center.

Indeed, researchers found a mismatch between patients’ perceptions and the technical quality of care they received, he said.