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December 9/23, 2013

Patient Satisfaction and Its Discontents

Author Affiliations
  • 1PeaceHealth Medical System, Bellingham, Washington
  • 2PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center, Bellingham, Washington
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(22):2025-2026. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11356

High patient satisfaction scores are increasingly used as a metric for physician reimbursement. But are they effective for assessing the quality of care?

It was no surprise that my palliative care team was asked to see Mr S. He was 71 years old and had been hospitalized 16 times in 2 years. He had multiple serious problems, including obesity hypoventilation syndrome, systolic heart failure, and severe functional impairment. In his medical record, there was no indication that he had completed a physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) or an advance directive or had any prior discussion about prognosis with any health care professional.

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