Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are patient surveys a reliable way to assess the performance of doctors and practices?

Date:
November 13, 2010
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
To assess the performance of general practices, it is better to ask patients about their actual experiences of care rather than ask for satisfaction ratings, according to new research.

To assess the performance of general practices, it is better to ask patients about their actual experiences of care rather than ask for satisfaction ratings, according to new research published online in the British Medical Journal.

The findings call into question the reliability of using surveys to evaluate practice performance.

Patient surveys are used to assess the performance of doctors and practices, and they increasingly enquire about specific patient experiences (e.g. waiting time for an appointment) as well as overall satisfaction.

In the UK, general practices receive some of their income according to survey scores. It is therefore important to be sure that patients' responses act as a reliable indicator of performance, yet few studies have looked into this.

Researchers from the University of Bristol set out to explore whether responses to survey questions reflect differences between the practices, the doctors, or the patients themselves.

Using mathematical models, they analysed data from 4,573 patients who consulted 150 different doctors at 27 general practices in England.

They found that specific questions about patients' experiences (particularly access to care) are a more accurate measure of practice and doctor performance than are questions about patients' general satisfaction.

This is largely due to differences in people's perceptions as well as random error, and suggests that the reliability of using surveys to assess an individual doctor's performance is questionable, say the authors.

They also found that responses vary according to patient characteristics such as age, sex, and ethnicity. However, adjusting for these characteristics made very little difference to practices' scores or the ranking of individual practices.

In conclusion, they support the concept that questions about specific experiences of care provide a more discriminating measure of a practice's performance than do subjective questions about general satisfaction. And they call for their findings to be replicated in a larger sample of practices.

An accompanying editorial argues that measures of patient satisfaction need to be refined, but they are not hopelessly flawed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chris Salisbury, Marc Wallace, Alan A Montgomery. Patients’ experience and satisfaction in primary care: secondary analysis using multilevel modelling. British Medical Journal, 2010; 341: c5004 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c5004

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Are patient surveys a reliable way to assess the performance of doctors and practices?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101012192131.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2010, November 13). Are patient surveys a reliable way to assess the performance of doctors and practices?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101012192131.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Are patient surveys a reliable way to assess the performance of doctors and practices?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101012192131.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins