by Max Brantley
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently became the first medical center in Arkansas — and one of the first in the United States — to display patient ratings and comments about its physicians on its website. It says it will not post libelous or profane comments and comments that might violate patient privacy.
The patient ratings of UAMS physicians use a five-star rating system, with five stars being the best. A physician’s rating is posted on the website once the physician has a minimum of 30 completed surveys. Physician ratings can be found at UAMShealth.com/ratings.
“UAMS, its physicians and UAMS Medical Center have created this ratings system to be more transparent, enhance its relationships with patients, provide better care and give patients information they can use in making decisions about their health care,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “The medical center has been surveying patients for years, but we now are making this information available to the public.”
Patients who are seen by a UAMS physician in an outpatient setting receive a survey. The results are based entirely from patients who have been treated by the physician.
“UAMS is focused on providing an exceptional experience in every aspect of care,” said Roxane Townsend, M.D., UAMS Medical Center CEO. “To ensure we are holding ourselves to the highest standards and providing patient- and family-centered care, we are partnered with National Research Corporation (NRC) — a leading independent patient satisfaction company. We measure all aspects of patient satisfaction, and all ratings are submitted by verified patients.”
Patients receive the survey from NRC and patients complete it to provide comments regarding aspects of care. UAMS receives the survey results from NRC and then uses patient feedback to improve and enhance the patient’s experience of care.
As part of its commitment to transparency, UAMS will post all relevant feedback — both positive and those ratings and comments showing opportunities for improvement. However, comments are not posted that are libelous, profane, or that risk the privacy of patients. Every provider rating is published regardless of comment status.
The surveys ask patients to evaluate how well their physician communicated, listened, and showed courtesy and respect toward them. Results are used to evaluate patients’ overall perception of care and to identify areas for improvement. Patient names are not displayed through the online ratings and commentary reviews. All personally identifiable information is removed prior to display.
“We want to empower patients with a range of information, including ratings and credentials, so they can choose the best physician for them,” Townsend said. “Patients and their families increasingly want to be more involved in their care. This kind of openness is vital in providing the information that patients want and need to do that.”
UAMS uses the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Clinician and Group Practice survey, which was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for use in hospitals and medical practices nationwide.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com.