My latest USA Today op-ed was published this morning: Patient satisfaction surveys have drawbacks.
I discuss how patient satisfaction scores affect physician salaries, which may, in turn, influence medical decision making. Of course, patient satisfaction is important and should be measured — but it’s a mistake to use them in part to determine physician compensation. Here’s an excerpt:
Quality health care sometimes means saying “no” to patients; denying them habit-forming pain medications that can feed an underlying, destructive drug addiction, or refusing to order unneeded CT scans that can facilitate harmful radiation exposure.
Satisfaction scores give patients a needed voice to express their concerns, which can help medical professionals improve their patient relations. But it’s a mistake to use patient satisfaction as a doctor’s financial carrot.
After all, a completely happy patient isn’t necessarily one who has received the best medical care.
Enjoy the piece.