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Beyond data delirium: It’s about my relationship with patients


‘The doctor’s visit” (circa 1663), by Jan Steen.

Jennifer Frank, M.D., in an essay in Physicians Practice writes:

“We are in an age of data, statistics, patient satisfaction surveys, cost and quality data, and even Consumer Reports’ ranking of healthcare systems. These things matter a lot for insurance contracts, star ratings, my “online” reputation, quality bonuses, and so on. However, when I think of the type of day I had in clinic today, it doesn’t really matter at all. Despite all the scientific advancements and transparency, the quality-cost index and the average cost of treatment, patient satisfaction and ratings, medicine is still a human business, a personal experience. While I am sure my patients would be reassured to know that I am practicing evidence-based medicine and not costing their insurance excessive amounts of money in delivery high-quality care, I think these measures miss the most important part of the equation.”


“In an era of quantitative analysis of everything I do from the clicks of my mouse to the number of CT scans I order, I am reassured that the quality of my patient relationships is both immeasurable and invaluable.”

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