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Provider Personal and Demographic Characteristics and Patient Satisfaction in Orthopaedic Surgery.

Lu LY, Sharabianlou Korth MJ, Cheng RZ, Finlay AK, Kamal RN, Goodman SB, Maloney WJ, Huddleston JI, Amanatullah DF. Provider Personal and Demographic Characteristics and Patient Satisfaction in Orthopaedic Surgery. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Global research & reviews. 2021 Apr 9; 5(4).

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INTRODUCTION: Patient satisfaction has increasingly been used to assess physician performance and quality of care. Although there is evidence that patient satisfaction is associated with patient-reported health outcomes and communication-related measures, there is debate over the use of patient satisfaction in reimbursement policy. Patient characteristics that influence satisfaction have been studied, but the effects of personal and demographic characteristics of physicians on patient satisfaction have yet to be explored. METHODS: Outpatient satisfaction scores from 11,059 patients who rated 25 orthopaedic surgeons from a single institution were studied. In this study, we sought to explore the relationship between nonmodifiable physician characteristics, such as sex and race, and patient satisfaction with outpatient orthopaedic surgery care, as expressed in the Press Ganey Satisfaction Scores. Univariate logistic regression models were used to test the associations between each provider characteristic and patient satisfaction on the Press Ganey patient satisfaction questionnaire. RESULTS: Three nonmodifiable physician personal and demographic characteristics were markedly associated with lower patient satisfaction scores across overall satisfaction, communication, and empathy domains: (1) female gender, (2) Asian ethnicity, and (3) being unmarried. Asian ethnicity reduced the odds of receiving a 5-star rating for likelihood to recommend the provider by nearly 40%, but none of these nonmodifiable physician personal and demographic characteristics affected the likelihood to recommend the practice. DISCUSSION: Sex, ethnicity, and marital status are nonmodifiable provider characteristics, each associated with markedly lower odds of receiving a 5-star rating on Press Ganey patient satisfaction survey. These data reveal inherent patient biases that negatively affect physician-patient interactions and may exacerbate the lack of diversity in orthopaedic surgery. More research is necessary before using patient satisfaction ratings to evaluate surgeons or as quality measures that affect reimbursement policies.

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