Welcome to stress and exhaustion.
A U.S. study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine says that patients give the same physicians different ratings depending on where their visits took place; for example, the physicians would tend to get lower rates if seen in the high-stress, exhausting and near-chaotic environment of an hospital emergency room in a city.
Thus the researchers suggest that that ratings are not a completely reliable measure of the quality of care that physicians give.
As healthcare payers put more focus on improving patient experiences, said senior author Christopher Jones, M.D., of Cooper Medical School at Rowan University in Camden, N.J., “these scores are being used more and more to reward physicians and hospitals which do well, and to punish those who don’t perform so well.”
Researchers compared patient-satisfaction surveys from three locations staffed by the same set of physicians. One was the emergency department at Cooper University Hospital in low-income, high-crime Camden — a more culturally diverse and urban environment than the other two settings: urgent-care sites in suburban areas.
Patients who saw physicians in the hospital emergency room gave them lower scores on all of the survey questions compared to patients who saw the same physicians in the calmer and more orderly urgent-care sites in comparatively affluent suburbs.