Patient satisfaction with their doctor is an essential component of healthcare that impacts both patient health outcomes and fiscal success of healthcare organizations. This study identifies doctor behaviors that act as drivers of patient satisfaction when doctor expertise is set aside and determines the importance of these behaviors between different age groups. Survey data were gathered from two samples, one comprising younger adults at a mid-size Midwestern university (n=100) and one comprising older adults from a national market research survey panel provider (n=187). Subjects were asked to rate their satisfaction with their doctors from 0‑100 and rate the importance of 21 doctor behaviors from 1-5. Results support evaluating patients’ overall views with their doctors separately from their views of their doctors when ignoring doctors’ expertise, as three unique doctor behaviors were identified when ignoring the doctors’ expertise (i.e., not rushed, long-term relationship, and being fun). Results also support the existence of age-related patient satisfaction drivers. Unique satisfaction drivers among younger patients include not rushing the interaction, being fun, conveying a caring demeanor, and protecting patient privacy. Conversely, unique satisfaction drivers among older patients include listening, conveying friendliness, building long-term relationships, and seeking patient input. Findings indicate that expertise-independent doctor behaviors are quantifiable and demonstrate clear patterns of importance in terms of patient satisfaction to different age groups. They also align with prior research findings that behaviors traditionally classified as “soft skills” like smiling and active listening are important attributes when considering patient satisfaction.
This article is associated with the Staff & Provider Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework (https://theberylinstitute.org/experience-framework/).
Lilly B, Tippins MJ, Tippins K, Lilly J. Doctor behaviors that impact patient satisfaction. Patient Experience Journal. 2023; 10(2):103-112. doi: 10.35680/2372-0247.1813.
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