For the 2017 Physicians Hospital Survey, physicians rated Houston-area hospitals in dozens of areas—from ease of admitting and referring patients to quality of medical care and policy and administration.
One key difference between the 2017 and 2016 surveys was that specialty hospitals, including Texas Children’s Hospital, Children’s Memorial Hermann and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, earned the highest overall satisfaction scores among physicians who worked there.
Conducted by Harris County Medical Society and Gelb Consulting, the survey, now in its second year, involved more than 2,000 physicians and 3,900 hospital evaluations. That’s twice as many participants and completed evaluations as the first year of the survey, said George Santos, M.D., president of the Harris County Medical Society.
“Our survey is independent and is an effort to give a voice to the physicians about their view of a hospital’s performance,” Santos added. “The hospitals also see it as unbiased information that gives them opportunities to improve their own organizations. Especially for health systems with multiple locations, it is useful for the administration to see where to focus processes and improve care.”
Physicians rated hospitals on 43 components in five categories: Overall satisfaction, quality of medical care, policy and administration, medical staff issues and electronic medical records.
They also identified four key areas that most affected their rate of satisfaction with a particular hospital, including management acknowledging patient safety as a top priority, positive changes arising from mistakes, opportunities to provide feedback on policies without retribution and administration respect for and willingness to collaborate with medical staff.
Survey results also showed that while overall all physician satisfaction is high, there were areas where physicians and hospital administrators could work together to improve the quality of care for Harris County residents. One area that scored low was electronic medical records (EMR); physicians were critical of the use of EMRs and inter-operability between clinicians, labs, hospitals, pharmacies and the patient.
“The hospital sees the world from their perspective, and physicians have another perspective,” Santos said. “For example, depending on the roles the physicians have, they may have to interact with four separate EMRs each week.”
He added that it takes time to go through the training to learn how to use EMRs, but the training isn’t always reimbursed. While EMRs may help an organization streamline operations, he added, they often do not help in terms of patient care.
But physicians gave their hospitals and administrations high scores for quality of care and the ability to improve certain processes when mistakes were made. That’s important to physicians, Santos said, who want to make sure that their own expertise will have an impact on patient care.
“We are seeing a growing interest from physicians who want to be seen as more than someone who brings patients to the hospitals,” Santos said.
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