Consumers of health care have triumph in a tussle that followed the debate whether the physician’s performance should be rated by patients. At the initial stages there were spirited protests by the physicians but following institutionalization of legislations that allows the general public easy access to information about physicians like their disciplinary records, and records on malpractices the resistance seem to be dying a natural death.
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This essay seeks to answer questions relating to whether physician’s report cards are fair representation of what they really do or there are some elements of biases. The writer’s opinion is solicited with regards to this issue and his or her view is sought. The essay provides two references that support this position. The essay also seeks to answer questions relating to whether physicians report cards provide information that the consumers can use in making medical decisions. That position will be supported with two references.
Are report cards given on physician’s performance a fair representation of the experience the patient’s go through during the process of treatment?
Rating process can be a little bit unfair to physicians because only disgruntled physicians will undertake to rate the physicians (Arrow, 1963). Those who rate do so under the backdrop of data acquired from insurance company claims that are not representative of the medical care they receive from the physicians. There are also problems relating to selection bias in these rating processes.
It is worth appreciating that patients should be in a position to choose a physician who can remedy their medical conditions from the physician’s ratings. The underlying risk with the rating of physicians is that data systems and analysis that can effectively be used in this process do not currently exist.
Informal tallies and poor quality data systems comprise the quality of the rating process despite the fact that they can be used by individual physicians to correct their misgivings (Ferguson et al, 2000). Secondly, patients who had negative experience with physicians because of reasons that were not necessarily sanctioned by the physicians are likely to make derogatory remarks about such physicians. This may be counterproductive to the rating process.
Rating process also goes against the grains of surgeon’s ethical obligations (Hannan et al, 1990). Surgeons like other physicians are not ethically obligated to communicate the outcomes and procedures of surgical procedures that are deemed important in patient’s decision making process.
Report cards on physicians help patients in making right medical decisions
Report cards on physicians are indispensible when patients are to make informed medical decisions. Doctor’s rating gives patients a platform from which they can now about a particular doctor’s experience. The experience of the physician helps in building confidence in a patient which is very important.
Nobody would want to consult someone who they are not sure will remedy their medical condition. The patient will be in a position to know whether the physician is equal and up to the task (Marshall et al, 2000). The patients will know whether the doctor is capable of making the right diagnosis and resultantly prescribe the right treatment for the condition diagnosed.
The patient perception of a doctor has got so much to do with how he or she responds to the prescribed treatment. The report card on physicians helps in providing constructive feedback to patients. This feedback helps the physicians to only to improve on areas they have been reported not to be apt in. This goes along way in improving healthcare delivery.
For instance when a physician has been reported not to be paying much attention to patient’s input in developing treatment plans, the physician will try to improve on that area.
Physician’s report cards also help in enhancing medical transparency because patients will be able to access meaningful information relating to quality of healthcare. The report brings into perspective both the positive and the negative aspects healthcare. This transparency helps doctors in improving delivery of healthcare services.
Patients will in the process appreciate the effort the physicians put and undertake to help them in achieving what they want to achieve. This improves medical experience. However, problems have arisen as to whatever should be deemed meaningful information. Patients who had negative medical experience will most likely give derogatory comments that only harms rather than building (Werner and Asch, 2000)
Rating of physician is advantageous to the patients as it helps in controlling health care costs and at the same time improving healthcare delivery by doctors. When patients comments in a physician’s report card shows that they are satisfied with his or her work there is a possibility that this will impact overall healthcare cost.
The patients will develop a culture where they often consult their physician without waiting for the time when they fall ill is when the go to the physicians clinic. When one waits to fall ill is when he or she goes for medical care, the costs of treatment can be so exorbitant. When doctors are rated they tend to improve the quality of services they deliver to the patients.
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This makes the patients to actively participate in healthcare experience. The patients will not fill intimidated to voice their perceptions about their experience with different physicians. This helps them to choose physicians who can remedy their medical conditions objectively without having to rely on traditional advertisement means. No patient would want to receive low quality medical care from less compassionate and disrespectful medical care professionals.
Arrow, K. (1963). Uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care. Am Econ Rev. 53, 941–973.
Ferguson, T.B. Jr, Dziuban, S.W. Jr, Edwards, F.H., et al. (2000). The STS National Database: current changes and challenges for the new millennium. Committee to Establish a National Database in Cardiothoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Ann Thorac Surg. 69, 680–691.
Hannan, E.L., Kilburn H Jr, O’Donnell JF, et al. (1990). Adult open heart surgery in New York State: an analysis of risk factors and hospital mortality rates. JAMA. 264, 2768–2774.
Marshall, M.N., Shekelle, P.G., Leatherman, S., et al. (2000). The public release of performance data: what do we expect to gain? A review of the evidence. JAMA. 283, 1866–1874.
Werner, R.M. and Asch, D.A. (2005). The unintended consequences of publicly reporting quality information. JAMA. 293, 1239–1244.