Observation Baltimore

Voice of Baltimore: Perceptions of the Patient-Doctor Relationship

Perceptions of the Patient-Doctor Relationship

Observation Baltimore recently surveyed more than 1,950 Baltimore area residents.  In the second part of a 2-part series, we wanted to highlight how Baltimore area residents feel about their relationship with their primary care physicians.

Patient satisfaction is an important and commonly used indicator for measuring the quality in health care. Patient satisfaction affects clinical outcomes, patient retention, and medical malpractice claims. It affects the timely, efficient, and patient-centered delivery of quality health care. Patient satisfaction is thus a proxy but a very effective indicator to measure the success of doctors and hospitals. 

 The Appointment

In the last 12 months, sixty-three percent (63%) of Baltimore residents surveyed stated they had an illness, injury, or condition that needed care right away in a clinic, emergency room, or doctor’s office. Over half (54%) prefer to schedule an appointment with their primary care doctor. The vast majority (84%) of our surveyed residents viewed their most recent visit in a favorable light. Eighty-seven percent (87%) said scheduling appointments was either “somewhat easy” or “very easy.”

Two areas where residents were less than thrilled involved the convenience of appointment times offered and promptness of appointments.  Fifty percent (50%) of those who completed the survey rate the level of convenience as “somewhat convenient” (38%), “not so convenient” (12%), and “not at all convenient” (1%). Forty-seven percent (47%) stated their primary care doctor visits typically start “very late” or “somewhat late.”

Understanding Next Steps

Visiting a doctor for any reason can be stressful.  Understanding treatment options before leaving the office is very important and our survey participants possess strong opinions when asked “Upon diagnosis, how well does your primary care doctor explain your treatment options.  Seventy-eight percent (78%) said their treatment options were explained either “very well” (44%) or “extremely well” (34%). Follow-up care communication also scored quite well. Seventy-three percent (73%) stated their information was explained either “very well” (43%) or “extremely well” (30%.)

The level of communication is typically tied to the amount of time doctors are spending with their patients.  It is not uncommon for doctors to want to see as many patients as possible in a given day, thus trying to keep each appointment as short as possible without compromising the quality of care.  We asked Baltimore residents “How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the amount of time your primary care doctor typically spends with you addressing your needs?” Thirty-two percent (32%) said they are “somewhat satisfied” and (50%) said they are “extremely satisfied.”

Overall Perceptions

When we asked Baltimore residents about their overall view of the care they receive from their primary care physician, the overwhelming majority stated their care is either “good” (23%), “very good” (35%), or “excellent” (33%).  The results were nearly identical when survey participants were asked how much they trust that their primary care doctor is making decisions that are in the best interest of the patient. Seventy-seven percent (77%) say they are not considering a change to a new primary care doctor for any reason other than a change in their insurance coverage. When asked “How happy are you with the choice of doctors through your health plan?”, (40%) were “very happy” and (24%) were “extremely happy.”

Overall, Baltimore residents view their level of care and their relationships with the primary care doctor favorably.

About Observation Baltimore

 At Observation Baltimore, we understand that the success of your research is directly tied to the quality of your participants. Recognized as one of the top Maryland market research facilities, we believe that Experienced Recruiting Makes the Difference. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services. Just six minutes from BWI airport and AMTRAK, our Baltimore research facility has a great location. Most importantly, we understand market research!

To learn more about Observation Baltimore and how we can help with your next project here in Baltimore, contact us today.  Visit www.observationbaltimore.com or call 410-332-0400 and ask for Ryan.