AJR satisfaction survey: Patients give thumbs-up to U.S. radiologists

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When it comes to patients rating satisfaction with the performance of U.S. radiologists, results came in as favorable, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology and supported by research grants from the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute.

Patients reviewed and rated their radiologists on a one to five scale, with five being the highest. Staff, punctuality, knowledge and helpfulness were assessed.

“Studying www.RateMDs.com reviews for 1,891 radiologists across 297 cities with populations greater than 100,000, we found that patient responses tended to be either strongly positive or strongly negative,” said Luke Ginocchio, MD, lead study author and an incoming resident in the department of radiology at New York University Langone Medical Center in a statement.

Researchers found that when it came to all four categories, the most common score was five and second most common was one. Radiologists in the Northeast U.S. scored higher than radiologists elsewhere when it came to staff and punctuality.

“In the current era of patient-centered care, patient satisfaction is emerging as an increasingly important metric in the evaluation of health care organizations and providers,” said Richard Duszak, MD, a professor and vice chair at Emory University and affiliate senior research fellow at the Neiman Institute. “A majority of the U.S public now uses the internet to obtain information related to their healthcare.”

There were only a handful of radiologists rated in this study, yet most of them received favorable results from their patients. However, reviews that were online swayed either way, extremely positive or extremely negative. Scores across categories were also highly correlated, suggesting a halo effect influencing patients’ global perceptions of radiologists.

“Patients usually don’t have neutral opinions about their radiologists. The message here is an important one: when we make an impression, either good or bad, patients will react accordingly,” said Duszak.