Physician Reviews: Should Doctors Prioritize Pleasing?

Physician Reviews: Should Doctors Prioritize Pleasing?

(Yours truly, in Medical Economics)


I was recently interviewed by a journalist from Medical Economics, who was writing an article on physician reviews.

Now, I’ve tackled this issue on the backend of my blog numerous times. In fact, I have quite number of unpublished posts that I just can’t seem to ‘get right’ enough to press that darn button (PUBLISH). It’s hard for me to convey things exactly right, esp when the issues at hand are so multi-factorial and sophisticated to tackle in the one-dimensional space on written work online.

However, when a journalist approaches me on a hot-button topic, the words just flow.

The article, which can be fully read here, is called:

How patient satisfaction scores are changing medicine


In it, I speak about the double-edged nature of these reviews, and how they threaten the sanctity of healthcare, as we know it.

I say:


“Physician reviews threaten the core values of medicine,” says Dana Corriel, MD, an internist based in Pearl River, N.Y. “Medicine is inherently built on the beauty of a patient-physician relationship. To add a review system into it almost makes it dirty.”


It’s true. Adding in reviews, in my opinion, shifts the focus on ‘customer satisfaction’ and away from intelligent, evidence-based decisions, which may sometimes not ‘please’ the other side, but which need to be done to deliver quality care.

The author writes:


“Corriel fears that these scores cause physicians to prioritize pleasing patients over doing what they feel is medically correct. “We run into a problem, because healthcare isn’t always about pleasing. It’s about making decisions that are evidence-based,” she says.”



Now, when I speak with journalists,

Physician Reviews: Should Doctors Prioritize Pleasing?words can sometimes be taken out of context, and there is, indeed, a small section of the article in which this happened. When asked about the specifics of a bad review, for example, I gave several scenarios in which a patient could feel dissatisfied. This included one in which the physician simply doesn’t have the answer.

It’s ok for physicians to utter those three honest words: ‘I don’t know’. In fact, I challenge everyone to say them more often, especially when it’s true and you, in fact, don’t.

Let’s be real: this happens sometimes. To me, as an internist, it can happen whenever someone questions me about certain aspects of a condition or treatment that I simply don’t know enough of. It isn’t, per se, because of anything I’ve done wrong. It’s because I study the entire body, and because I may simply not know. This is when the handy-dandy specialist referral comes into play. Because together with the specialists, I make a healthcare team. It’s an ideal situation, because everyone can play their part.


I hope you enjoy the article. I’ll try and dust off some of the backend, unpublished blog posts about the topic and check whether I can add in some tweaks to salvage them and use. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, weigh in on physician reviews below.


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