quality of care should be considered when selecting a new md

The results of a recently published survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveal that people take a multitude of factors into consideration when selecting a new doctor.

For instance, the nationwide survey, which randomly polled 1,000-plus people, found that everything from experience and bedside manner to appointment times and, of course, cost played a major role in whether participants opted to go with a particular doctor.

Curiously, a factor that was not taken into consideration by most participants, noted the survey authors, was whether a doctor was able to provide high-quality care. Indeed, the survey found that only 22 percent of participants felt confident that they could even locate sufficient information to feel confident about comparing the quality of local doctors.

According to the researchers, part of this phenomenon can likely be attributed to the natural tendency of people to rely on friends and family for doctor recommendations, or on the referrals of their own physicians, a theory supported by the survey results showing that six in ten participants trusted the word of loved ones regarding potential doctors.

Another part of it, they theorize, could be attributed to a misplaced distrust of online information that could otherwise provide some sense of the quality of care, including patient reviews, ratings websites and medical provider sites.

While this inability to secure concrete information regarding quality of care from a particular physician is cause for concern, the good news is that government officials at both the state and federal level are taking steps to help rectify the situation.

For instance, many states now provide online report cards for multi-physician offices regarding quality outcomes, while Medicare is set to launch a new quality measurement system called “Physician Compare,” which will award online star ratings to multi-physician practices.

While neither of these options provides information on specific providers, it can at least enable prospective patients to reach an informed conclusion as to the quality of care they can anticipate receiving from a given facility.

It is worth noting that advocates indicate that prospective patients can take things one-step further by calling an office to make specific inquiries designed to uncover what type of comprehensive care will be provided by the physician and the support staff.

What have your experiences been like selecting a new physician? Were you able to find valuable information concerning quality of care, or did you rely on the recommendation of another?

If you believe that either you or a family member have suffered debilitating injuries because of some form of medical malpractice, consider consulting with an experienced legal professional who can examine your case, explain the law, outline your options and fight to secure justice.

Source: The Associated Press, “Before doctors check your vitals, check out theirs,” Lauran Neergaard and Jennifer Agiesta, July 20, 2014

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