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Does Short Term Patient Satisfaction Impact Long Term Health?

As someone who has been studying and writing on healthcare and medical conditions for years, I am fascinated by the link between thoughts, feelings, and physical health. I have long wondered whether short-term patient satisfaction impacts long term health. I still do not have a definitive answer, but I recently ran across a study that seems to indicate it might.

The study, published in December 2022 by JAMA Network Open, involved patients who were offered bariatric surgery to help them lose weight. Researchers gauged patient satisfaction according to seven different metrics, then compared satisfaction scores against patient decisions to move forward with surgery.

More About the Study

Researchers enrolled 408 participants of a variety of ages and ethnicities. Their main goal was to determine how patient satisfaction impacted the decision to undergo surgery. They also wanted to know if race or ethnicity played a significant role in patient decisions.

Guess what they discovered? Patients reporting higher rates of satisfaction were more likely to proceed. Those reporting lower satisfaction were less likely to undergo surgery. Race and ethnicity had no bearing on the decision.

The interesting thing to me is that patients were asked to report their satisfaction using a traditional survey. The seven metrics they were asked to account for were as follows:

  • General satisfaction.
  • Technical quality (of their care).
  • Interpersonal manner (of their doctors).
  • Financial aspects.
  • Time spent with the physician.
  • Accessibility and convenience.

The only outcomes measured for each patient were moving forward with surgery or deciding against it. Researchers noted that the most important satisfaction metric to those who underwent surgery was technical quality. Communication was second and accessibility and convenience were third.

It Makes Perfect Sense

The study surprised me when I first read it. But after I thought about it for a while, it made perfect sense. I could imagine myself seeing a doctor for a medical condition I have been dealing with for fifteen years. If, after spending time with that doctor, I do not trust their technical abilities, I am not likely to follow any advice offered. In fact, I have experienced this very scenario for real.

Why would things be any different for a patient considering bariatric surgery? Why would things be different for any patient being treated for any condition? If a patient is not satisfied with the abilities or service a doctor provides, that patient is not likely to take the doctor’s advice seriously. Not heeding medical advice has long term implications.

KindlyMD is a Utah medical provider operating multiple clinics in the state. One of the things they stress at their clinics is ongoing patient education. They also want and expect their clinicians to stay abreast of all the latest in the medical field that pertains to what they do. This is the sort of thing that instills confidence in patients.

KindlyMD clinicians also believe in providing comprehensive care rooted in individualized treatment plans. Again, patients appreciate this and are satisfied by it. This leads to confidence in their medical providers. As a result, patients and clinicians work together in a collaborative manner that leads to good long-term outcomes.

Clinicians Make or Break Themselves

Comparing my own experiences with what I know about KindlyMD, I reached the conclusion that medical providers make or break themselves. Clinicians capable of instilling confidence and satisfaction in their patients are much more likely to have patients who follow their advice. Doctors who leave their patients feeling unsatisfied and lacking confidence are likely to see their advice ignored. At least that is what the data appears to show.

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