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Which Healthcare Players Yield the Highest Patient Satisfaction?

Gallup polling found that 82 percent of patients think their nurses provide excellent or good medical care, while 69 percent said the same about doctors.

While patient satisfaction with clinicians such as doctors and nurses is still high, that’s not necessarily the case with every healthcare player, according to recent Gallup polling.

The survey of around 1,000 adults in the US showed that patient satisfaction with the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance industry, and nursing homes is tanking, with less than half of respondents reporting good or excellent experiences with them.

These findings come as healthcare sees less and less consumer confidence, Gallup pointed out. In a Gallup poll published in July, the surveying organization reported that only about 34 percent of consumers have faith in the US healthcare system; that’s down from 44 percent who said the same in 2021.

But when it comes to patient satisfaction and experiences with healthcare, it all depends on what part of the landscape the consumer is interacting with.

This latest survey showed that patients are still pretty satisfied with their clinicians. For nurses, 82 percent of patient respondents said they think they provide good or excellent care. That figure was 69 percent for doctors, who are seeing a downswing in patient receptiveness from years previous. In 2010, the most recent year for which Gallup has data, 84 percent of patients said they thought their doctors were providing good, high-quality medical care.

Other provider types are also getting the consumer seal of approval, Gallup added. More than half of patients said they think hospitals (58 percent), urgent care/walk-in clinics (56 percent), and telemedicine/virtual visit doctors (52 percent) provide good or excellent care.

This is a modest improvement for the urgent care space, Gallup pointed out. In 2010, 54 percent of patients said they think these providers offer good or excellent healthcare. Urgent care is the only provider type that has seen a net increase in patient satisfaction since the 2010 survey.

“Much has occurred since 2010 that could account for these changes, including higher healthcare costs, the opioid crisis, the coronavirus pandemic, the associated controversy over mandating COVID-19 vaccines and, more recently, healthcare staff shortages,” Gallup offered as an explanation.

Other provider types and care sites don’t get such good marks from patients, the 2023 survey continued. Less than half of patient respondents said the emergency department (47 percent), pharma industry (33 percent), or health insurance industry (31 percent) provides for a good or excellent patient experience. Around two-thirds of patients said the care provided in or by those entities was either fair or poor.

Nursing homes were a standout for poor consumer sentiment, Gallup added. A quarter of patients said the care provided in a nursing home was good or excellent, while 33 percent said it was only fair, and 37 percent said it was good. This adds up, the surveying firm said, considering a September Gallup report in which American patients gave nursing homes just a D+ grade for quality of care, patient safety, and experience.

The Gallup findings echo other recent consumer sentiment surveys.

Earlier this month, J.D. Power released an updated hospital patient satisfaction survey, which also found pronounced patient trust in doctors and nurses. Patients said their doctors and nurses offered clear explanations of their conditions and care plans, although the J.D. Power report did indicate that it can be hard for patients to actually get ahold of a doctor during an inpatient hospital stay.

More than anything, these surveys demonstrate that patients still mostly want to interact with their clinicians and that clinicians are among the most trusted figures in US healthcare. Healthcare organizations looking to improve patient satisfaction should leverage the relationships have with their clinicians to support a better overall experience.

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