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Factors influencing ratings of physicians by their peers and patients.

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Lipner RS, Jacobs CN, Fortna GS. — American Board of Internal Medicine

Presented: American Educational Research Association Meeting, April 2011

Background: Physician communication skills and professional qualities are important competencies for providing quality patient care. We evaluated factors that influence ratings of these competencies by patients and peers.

Method: 3,859 physicians completed a patient and physician-peer exercise to fulfill a requirement to maintain certification. Each physician was rated by 25 patients on communication skills and by 10 peers on clinical performance and professionalism. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, chi-squared and linear multiple regression.

Results: Patient and peer ratings were influenced by several factors such as size of practice and length of relationship with patients. After accounting for rater, physician and practice characteristics, subspecialists received higher mean ratings than general internists by both patients and peers.

Conclusion: Although we found that several characteristics significantly influenced ratings, the effect sizes were small. However, emotionally, in order to get physicians engaged in improvement in patient communication and professional qualities, it may be important to provide feedback relative to other physicians with similar characteristics.

For more information about this presentation, please contact Research@abim.org.