What do patients have to say about Wake Forest Baptist doctors?
You can now find out online.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has become the first health care system in North Carolina and just the fourth in the United States to post patient satisfaction data and comments – both positive and negative – about staff physicians on its website.
These ratings of doctors who practice in outpatient settings are compiled from patient surveys distributed and administered by Press Ganey, an independent health care research and consulting firm based in South Bend, Ind. While Wake Forest Baptist has conducted patient satisfaction surveys of this type for more than 20 years, this is the first time the information has been made available to the public.
“In this day and age, society increasingly expects transparency and access to information to help them make informed decisions,” said Russell M. Howerton, M.D., Wake Forest Baptist’s chief medical officer. “Our belief is that by giving current and prospective patients and their families access to patient-generated doctor ratings and comments, we are helping them make informed decisions when choosing a health care provider. It’s the right thing to do.”
Ratings of and comments about doctors are available on a variety of websites, but only the online reviews posted by Wake Forest Baptist and three other Press Ganey clients – University of Utah Health Care of Salt Lake City, Piedmont Healthcare of Atlanta and INTEGRIS Health of Oklahoma – are verified as being from actual patients and their families.
To access Wake Forest Baptist’s doctor ratings, go to www.wakehealth.edu and click on the “Find a Doctor” tab near the top of the home page. On the page that opens, fill in at least one of the search fields and hit “submit.” A new page will appear; click on a particular doctor’s name to open his or her profile page.
Directly under the physician’s photo on the profile page is a Doctor Rating of one to five stars, which represents his or her average score in patient responses over the past year to nine questions on the Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Beneath the stars are the number of ratings the doctor has received and the number of patient comments posted; clicking on either will open a new page with more detailed information.
This Doctor Ratings page shows how patients rate the physician on a scale of 1 (“very poor”) to 5 (“very good”) on each of the nine survey questions, which cover topics such as the doctor’s use of clear language, the amount of time the doctor spent with the patient and the patient’s likelihood of recommending the doctor. Below these scores are the patient comments, compiled from the surveys. These are updated weekly and remain “live” for one year.
The comments are neither edited nor altered but they are reviewed for appropriateness. Comments containing information that could jeopardize patient confidentiality or privacy; profane, abusive, discriminatory, malicious or potentially libelous language; or reference to other health care providers, other instances of care (emergency, inpatient, past visits) or other aspects of Medical Center operations (e.g., parking, billing) are not posted.
At present, Wake Forest Baptist’s website includes reviews for more than 375 physicians, all of whom have earned overall ratings of at least four stars. The number of rated physicians will increase over time, but the reviews will remain limited to those doctors who see patients in outpatient settings and who have been rated by 30 or more patients in the previous 12 months.
“We’re confident that posting patient satisfaction data and comments will help us improve the quality of care we provide,” Howerton said. “Paying attention to the voice of the patients will help us practice critical communication skills such as setting expectations, offering clear explanations and partnering with patients and families to attain the best possible outcomes.”
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