A panel of experts offered advice on what is fast becoming one of the most vexing and frustrating—yet one of the most important—aspects of healthcare: patient satisfaction. The panel offered perspectives from both the academic and private settings during a session at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.
Explore this issue:December 2015
C.W. David Chang, MD, Jerry W. Templer, MD Faculty Scholar in Otolaryngology and associate professor of clinical otolaryngology at the University of Missouri in Columbia, noted that patient satisfaction accounts for 30% of the new value-based purchasing model for hospital reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “These metrics of patient satisfaction are increasingly going to be part of how we get reimbursed,” he said. The quandary is that “getting what the patient wants and not what the patient needs may have some detriments.” An oft-cited 2012 study found that while higher patient satisfaction was linked to less emergency department use, it was also linked to more inpatient use, higher overall healthcare and prescription drug costs, and increased mortality (Arch Intern Med. 2012;172:405-411).
Does the need to satisfy patients lead physicians to honor their requests for discretionary healthcare, potentially driving up costs without adding much benefit?