Study Of Doctor Ratings Reveals Time Spent with Physician is the Strongest Factor in Satisfaction

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A recent study of 5,030 patients nationwide conducted by analysts reveals lack of adequate time spent with a doctor is a patient's number one dissatisfier. A research article based on the study, recently published by BMC Health Services, concludes that physicians can significantly improve their patient satisfaction levels by spending as little as 5 additional minutes of quality time with each patient.

According to a recent study conducted by DrScore, ( an independent patient advocacy research group that specializes in doctor ratings, the amount of one-on-one time that a physician spends with a patient directly impacts satisfaction survey results more than any other external factor.

"Our original hypothesis was that patient dissatisfaction would be directly tied to wait time. But what we found is that patients are willing to wait longer as long as they get time with the doctor in the exam room. It is the combination of long wait times and a short visit with the physician that yields the most negative patient survey results," says Nicola Ries Taggart, President of DrScore.

Though patients regularly verbalize their discontent with long wait times at doctors' offices, the study reveals that the main source of dissatisfaction is the lack of reward for their wait. Taggart says that waiting longer to see the physician does negatively impact quality scores, but that rushing visits to reduce wait time is a counterproductive way to solve the problem of a busy office.

Physicians who wish to improve their patient relationships may interpret this information in different ways. One is to find means to reduce time spent on activities between patients. Another is to take on fewer patients based on the average amount of time needed for a personalized level of health care. Health plans may need to consider increasing the level of reimbursement for the standard office visit to provide adequate compensation to a practice for a more thorough exam and consultation.    

The highest scores on average, she says, are from patients who experienced short wait times and adequate doctor-patient time. "Doctors can do simple things like spend a few extra minutes in the exam room going over the patients concerns. Even an additional 5 minutes can have a positive impact on a patient's perception of their experience," says Taggart.

Results are based on the responses of 5,030 respondents to a web-based survey conducted by DrScore. DrScore's role in the health care industry is to gather and report on information collected from patients throughout the U.S. Doctors rely on DrScore to gather objective information and provide detailed reporting and analysis about their practice as part of an effort to improve client relations and strengthen their businesses.

While specific and personalized information is delivered to doctors on a quarterly basis, DrScore analysts continuously review collected data in a variety of different ways, publishing top level reports like their most recent for the general public. A research article based on this study was published by BMC Health Services and can be read in full online at

About DrScore: provides an online environment for patients to rate a doctor, as well as reporting algorithms to measure overall patient satisfaction. Patients can rate a doctor for free online and use the site to find a doctor in any specialty. Through reporting, physicians and staff uncover ways to help them improve their services and grow a more profitable practice. For more information on how DrScore can help your practice provide a higher level of patient satisfaction, visit

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