Plastic surgeons suggest, in a topic article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, that subjective patient satisfaction ratings may lead to lower-quality care in some situations. Instead, they call for better ratings tools.

“Increasingly used as a measure of physician performance, patient satisfaction data can be flawed and not broadly applicable,” comments ASPS Member Surgeon Terence Myckatyn, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and coauthors, in the topic article.

“While patient satisfaction is important, we think that better rating tools are needed to measure it,” they add, according to a media release from Wolters Kluwer Health.

It’s unclear whether satisfaction and other measures of patient experience are correlated with traditional measures of health care safety and quality, Myckatyn and coauthors write, per the release.

“The truth is that there is little high-level evidence to support that patient satisfaction surveys will provide Americans with improved medical outcomes, but there are plenty of contradictory data,” per the topic article.

As a specialty, plastic surgery doesn’t have a strong body of research on patient satisfaction and its relationship to outcomes. Yet especially for aesthetic surgery, plastic surgeons have always been attuned to the importance of patient feedback.

While they don’t discard the notion of assessing patient satisfaction, Myckatyn and colleagues make the point that the rubrics currently used to rate patient satisfaction “do not consistently predict improved outcomes and satisfaction.”

“What is needed are reliable tools that will take into account what constitutes superior quality in a more systematic, meaningful, and validated way,” the release continues.

[Source(s): Wolters Kluwer Health, EurekAlert]