Patient Satisfaction Surveys: Not a Good Idea

Everyone can agree that when it comes to healthcare, we want the best to be based here, in the United States.  However, getting to that destination is where people disagree.  One area that has doctors upset is Patient Satisfaction Surveys.  We actually built our own Patient Survey System about 10 years ago, and have had some real good success with it, but we feel that measuring the staff at the doctors office, and the office itself, leads to better patient satisfaction.  We do not feel that a patient should be grading his/her own doctor/patient experience, because they do not have the medical knowledge to do it accurately.  Yes, a patient can say that the doctor treated them with respect, and they felt cared for…..but to ask if they received the medication that they wanted, or to ask if the patient got the test they wanted just doesn’t seem like a good idea.  There’s a reason a doctor goes to school for 8+ years!

Forbes recently wrote an article about this and its connection with Obamacare.  The firm that doctors don’t seem to like very much is Press Ganey.  We haven’t spoken to our clients about this, but since we do have our own Survey System, we did think we could discuss this on our blog.  Obamacare is very much about surveys and their results:

An ObamaCare initiative adds extra teeth, to the tune of $850 million, reducing Medicare reimbursement fees for hospitals with less-than-stellar scores.

We think Forbes did a great job of stating why these are a bad idea, and we agree:

The current system might just kill you. Many doctors, in order to get high ratings (and a higher salary), overprescribe and overtest, just to “satisfy” patients, who probably aren’t qualified to judge their care. And there’s a financial cost, as flawed survey methods and the decisions they induce, produce billions more in waste. It’s a case of good intentions gone badly awry–and it’s only getting worse.

You should head over to Forbes and read this entire article.  What do you think?  Do patient satisfaction survey systems help?  Should they only be used to grade support staff?  We’d love to hear your comments!