LIFE Published February19, 2017 By Staff Writer

New research examines patients' satisfaction with their radiologists

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New research reports that most U.S. radiologists receive favorable satisfaction scores from their patients. The study, supported by research grants from the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, is published online in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

"Studying http://www.RateMDs.com reviews for 1,891 radiologists across 297 cities with a population 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.

The patient reviews included rating scores of one through five, with five being the highest, in four categories (staff, punctuality, knowledge and helpfulness). They found that in all four categories, the most common score was five and second most common was one. Scores of two through four were far less frequent, and radiologists in the Northeast scored significantly lower than radiologists elsewhere for both 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," noted Richard Duszak, MD, FACR, professor and vice chair for health policy and practice in the department of radiology and imaging sciences 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 health care."

While only a minority of radiologists in the studied cities were rated, most radiologists who were reviewed received favorable satisfaction scores from their patients. However, online reviews tended to reflect either strongly positive or strongly negative opinions. In addition, scores across categories were 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," added Duszak.

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