Patient Power

I am a frequent user of Consumer Reports and other related websites.  We are in the middle of some serious backyard renovation and construction at my house so I have been using Consumer Reports type sites almost daily. Which garage shelving systems are the most sturdy?  What type of wood flooring will stand up best to my puppy's sharp claws (and occasional 'accidents')?  Do I really need the Aquabot pool cleaner? But, Consumer Reports for primary care physicians?

The Health Care Blog discusses a special insert that will be placed in July's Consumer Reports magazine rating nearly 500 primary care physicians in Massachusetts.  Ratings are based on 65,000 responses to a survey of patients.  Patients were questioned regarding  topics such as how much time their doctor spends with them each visit, ease of receiving lab and test results, and understanding of how to take care of their health problems once they leave the clinic. 

I think this is an excellent idea and should be replicated in other areas of the country and expanded to include nurse practitioners, physician assistants and specialty physicians.  As a nurse practitioner in the emergency department, I see a lot of non-emergent patients.  In fact, I see mostly non-emergent patients. Many of my visits with patients begin with statements like "I know, this is not an emergency, but I called my PCP and their next appointment is not for three weeks".  Or, "I just don't like my primary care provider so I came here instead".  Other patients simply do not have a primary care provider and do not know how to go about finding one.  The public needs a way to find quality healthcare providers.

I don't blame my patients who are unsatisfied or do not have primary care.  In fact, I could personally use a Consumer Report for primary care physicians in Nashville, TN as neither my husband or I have a primary care provider.  Hopefully this service will expand rapidly to other areas of the country.  Until then, I will continue to not get my cholesterol checked and research "Lawn Mowing Services Nashville".