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Patient satisfaction’s impact on clinical license suspensions

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2022 | blog, Medical Licensing

As many clinicians in Pennsylvania already know, the paradigm shift currently occurring within the U.S. healthcare industry hopes to place an increased emphasis on the quality of care provided. Regulators often look to patient satisfaction scores to determine quality, yet reliance on such feedback could potentially open the door to issues.

Healthcare is one of the few industries in which providers (as much as they might hope to) cannot provide a guarantee of satisfaction; they can only follow the course of care they deem best. Responses to that care may not always be uniform, however. Thus lies the potential problem with empowering patients to determine a clinician’s quality based largely on their satisfaction.

Mistaking poor satisfaction with abuse

Indeed, according to information shared by the American Academy of Family Physicians, nearly 78% of doctors say that the fear of receiving poor patient satisfaction scores negatively impacts their own satisfaction with their work. The question then becomes can poor patient satisfaction scores prompt a medical license suspension.

Patient abuse ranks among the most common reasons for a medical license suspension. Realistically, a patient might equate their clinical outcomes (or the overall tenor of their care episodes) with abuse. While many might dismiss such an assertion, the fact that claims of abuse might include verbal exchanges merits consideration.

Defining verbal abuse

Per the publication Psychology Today, “verbal abuse” include “speech and/or behavior that’s derogating, controlling, punishing, or manipulative.” Definitions of those terms, however, are often subjective. Thus, a patient might consider their doctor’s treatment of them as a determining factor towards their clinical outcomes. Clinicians concerned about this possibility should maintain careful documentation that clearly dictates their discourses and interactions with a patient throughout a care episode.