Member and Industry News

May 22, 2012

A Nationwide Study Conducted by Catalyst Healthcare Research Finds Major Disconnect Between Patient Expectations & Physician Behaviors

A Nationwide Study Conducted by Catalyst Healthcare Research Finds Major Disconnect Between Patient Expectations & Physician Behaviors
by Catalyst Healthcare Research | May 22, 2012

NASHVILLE – A new national study, What’s Reasonable? Patient and Clinician Perspectives in Provision of Service, finds that Baby Boomers have very high expectations when it comes to seeing the doctor, and based on feedback from a group of patient experience professionals representing thousands of clinicians, many doctors across the country are not meeting those expectations.

“We found that Baby Boomers share a set of expectations.  They overwhelmingly agree that doctors and doctors’ offices should be performing certain actions such as providing appointments when they want them, calling them back with test results, and seeing them within 15 minutes of their appointment times.  However, it seems that many doctors have a hard time doing these things on a consistent basis, leading to patient discontent with many aspects of the physician visit,” said Dan Prince, President of Catalyst Healthcare Research, the sponsor of the study.

Baby Boomers were selected as the focus of this study because they represent a large and vocal segment of society.  In addition, they are becoming heavy users of healthcare as they age, with 10,000 Baby Boomers becoming eligible for Medicare every day.

The study was conducted via an online survey of 400 Baby Boomers living in the U.S. during the month of March 2012.  Results were first revealed in a presentation by CHR’s President, Dan Prince, in a session at The Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Conference in April.  In that session, about 30 patient experience professionals from hospitals and health systems around the country took an instant poll that showed that the doctors in their organizations consistently underperform relative to the 10 physician behaviors tested in the national consumer survey.

The chart below reveals the expectations that Baby Boomers agree are reasonable regarding a doctor’s visit and displays the contrasting percentage of professionals who said that doctors actually perform these actions at least 90% of the time.

“The largest gaps between what patients expect and what they seem to be getting occurred in three areas,” added Prince.  “These were in ‘Wait Time,’ ‘Asking About Fears and Concerns,’ and ‘Receiving an Accurate, Clear Bill.’  While we know that the most important driver of patient satisfaction is the quality of communication between the physician and the patient, we see from this work that there are important gaps to close in the delivery of outpatient care.”

Learn more about the study by downloading the What’s Reasonable? Slide Show Presentation and accompanying Audio Podcast at

About the Study
This study of Baby Boomers was conducted via a national online survey done in March 2012.  To qualify, respondents had to have seen a doctor within the previous two years.  The margin of error for the overall results is estimated at +/-5%.

About Catalyst Healthcare Research
Catalyst Healthcare Research (CHR) is a full-service research firm specializing in designing and conducting custom studies for health providers, health plans, and suppliers to the healthcare industry.  Using a range of innovative research tools, CHR delivers key insights to healthcare organizations who want to understand, measure, and leverage “customer experience” to build stronger brands and capture more market share.  CHR serves healthcare clients from start-ups to the Fortune 500 from its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.  Learn more or call Robyn Burns at 615.297.6535.

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