What Do Patients Consider Quality for Healthcare Providers?

July 21, 2014
Laura Joszt

There is a disconnect between patients and experts when defining what it means to be a quality healthcare provider, according to a new poll.

There is a disconnect between patients and experts when defining what it means to be a quality healthcare provider, according to a new study.

A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research revealed that most Americans focus on the doctor-patient relationship and interactions in the doctor’s office when considering someone a quality provider. However, experts think about the effectiveness of treatments and health outcomes.

Americans named “listens/attentive” as the most important factor to make a high-quality doctor, followed by “accurate diagnosis/competence.” Further down on the list was “attention to detail/thorough” and “medical values/philosophy.”

The poll also revealed that individuals are willing to pay more for higher quality doctors. However, few admitted to doing so. Patient respondents also reported that they do not find information about the quality of healthcare providers to be easy to find. Furthermore, they don’t really trust information sources that do produce the information.

“Americans report that they would trust word-of-mouth and personal recommendations from doctors far more than provider quality data coming from the government or third parties,” reported AP-NORC.

Just 26% of Americans say that high ratings on sites like HealthGrades.com, Yelp, or Angie’s List are important. And only 15% care about a physician being rate “the best” by a newspaper or magazine.

More than 60% of respondents said they trust provider quality information from friends or family members. However, less than half trust their regular doctor and less than a fifth trust state or government agencies when it comes to providing quality information.

More difficult than finding information on provider quality is getting information on the cost of provider care, according to respondents. Half believe that higher quality care goes hand in hand with higher costs, although 37% do not believe there is any real relationship.