Even minimal data derived from a small group of patients can provide an adequate representation of the quality of health care instituted by private health practitioners and their office practice, according to a new study published in Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Highly consistent and reliable data can be provided by a group of 45 patients, according to the present study in which approximately 13,000 adult patients assessed 215 doctors and 67 practices. Such feedbacks from health care recipients can provide valuable insights into the quality of health care delivery by a specific health care provider.
The study participants were required to rate their health care provider on a scale from 0 to 11, where the scale represented the frequency and quality of the interaction between the doctor and the patient.
Different aspects such as how effectively the doctor had explained about the health condition in a way that the patient can understand, how much respect was shown to the patient and the organizational skills of the physician such as co-ordination with other healthcare professionals were analyzed.
'These findings reveal that among a modest-size sample of a physician's patients, it is possible to obtain a snapshot of what it is like to be a patient of that physician that appears to hold true from patient to patient. The study points to patients' reports as an effective tool that can be used more widely to improve the quality of care, said study author Dana Gelb Safran, director of the Health Institute at Tufts-New England Medical Center.