"Massage therapists and acupuncturists are consistently rated much higher than conventional medical practitioners."

Physicians’ Emotional Skills Suddenly Matter

More people are expressing their opinions about doctors and healthcare services in reviews online. Actual medical competence is not on the top of their list.

How do you feel when you leave your doctor’s office, the hospital, or a medical procedure?  Public patient reviews are a level of transparency still alien to the medical community, but which are having an impact on the bottom line, and forcing physicians to recalculate the value and importance of what was once referred to as “bedside manner.” Especially because patients are far more likely to rate their experience as much or more on their overall experience – emotional factors being a large part of that – than on procedural or technical expertise.

In discussing the trend of social media sharing by healthcare consumers with ProPublica reporter Charles Ornstein, NPR host David Greene pointed out that related professionals like massage therapists and acupuncturists are consistently rated much higher than conventional medical practitioners, presumably because people generally feel good about those experiences.

Ornstein:

I also think those professions are much more attuned to competing for patients, because those patients pay more of those bills out of their own pockets. I think that they are more attuned to social media. In fact, I think that they encourage patients to go and write reviews on social media, whereas doctors are just, sort of, really opposed to it. And, I think historically, doctors have not really had to compete for patients per se ... They hope that you will go to them for their competence, for their skill, and pay less attention to these other sorts of issues. But they’re beginning to creep in there.

Listen to the entire interview:

And read Ornstein’s full article here.