Background: For several years, patient evaluations of their physician has been utilized as a metric to evaluate physician performance and now it has been included as a parameter utilized to calculate reimbursement. Despite the routine use of these evaluations by most hospitals and agencies, little research has been done to evaluate the metrics of patient evaluations. We sought to assess whether patient gender has any effect on satisfaction scores when patients evaluate satisfaction with hospitalist performance.
Methods: This prospective observational study was conducted at a suburban voluntary hospital that has 318 inpatient beds. All patients admitted to the telemetry floor were eligible. Patients who were unable or refused to answer the questionnaire were excluded. Hospitalists were evaluated anonymously by their patients over a 4- month period on a questionnaire designed to assess patient satisfaction. The questionnaire was administered by a team of trained research assistants and asked the patient to identify their physician by name as well as 5 additional questions designed to assess: physician communication, concern, introduction to the patient, answering patient questions and whether the patient would recommend the physician. Patient satisfaction was rated on 3-point scale.
Results: During the 3-month period of the study 158 patients evaluated 16 hospitalists yielding an average of 9.9 evaluations per hospitalist. The patient score for each question was compared using the Mann-Whitney Test between male and female patient to determine if there were any significant scoring differences patients of different gender. The questions related to communication, answering patient questions and physician introduction to the patient did not show any significant differences. The variables for physician concern about the patient and the patient likelihood of recommending the hospitalist were scored significantly higher by male vs female physicians (2.90 vs. 2.74; p=.044 and 2.71 vs. 2.48; p=.049).
Conclusions: Hospitalist gender showed an effect on the patient satisfaction scores that assessed physician concern about the patient and the patient likelihood of recommending the hospitalist with male patient giving higher scores that female patients. There was no effect of patient gender on the other satisfaction scores.