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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Patient Satisfaction And Quality Of Medical Care

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I am asked frequently to review medical records to determine if a breach of the medical standard of care (medical malpractice) has occurred. Sometimes I am told that a particular doctor is the likely bad guy and that Dr. Super Nice Fellow is definitely not a logical target because, well, he is a super nice fellow.

Unfortunately, not every super nice fellow practices good medicine.

Patient satisfaction not best indication of quality of care

The argument that the “best way to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care is to make the market for health care more like the market for everything else” is based on the erroneous “belief that health care is — in most respects — like any other product,” columnist David Wessel writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

According to Wessel, “Just because patients say they’re very happy with their doctor and the care they’re receiving doesn’t mean they’re getting good care, as defined by medical experts.”

“With restaurants, or movies, or airplane rides, or even newspapers, satisfaction can be almost the whole story,” Wessel writes, adding, “Not so in medicine.”

He writes that patients “deserve doctors, nurses and other health care providers who have a gentle touch and a knack for explaining the complicated” but adds that “confusing high scores on patient-satisfaction surveys with high-quality medical care can be dangerous to your health” (Wessel, Wall Street Journal, 9/7)