Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What should count in rating doctors?

Rosemary Flanigan
November 11, 2009

The Center’s 25th anniversary is being celebrated with lectures by the program staff and last night was Dr. Gary Pettett, a fellow at the Center and a neonatologist at Children’s Mercy, who talked on “Professionalism—What has Trust (not Truth) Got to do With It?”

It was a delightful evening because Gary had us in the audience write down the 3 most valuable traits we wanted to find in our physician. Then he talked about four different kinds of physician-patient relationships and how there is no “one size fits all” but different encounters between the two call forth different relationships between them (paternalistic, interpretive, deliberative, etc.)

Then he asked us for our “most valuable traits” and dutifully recorded them. Following that, he listed what physicians might expect in a quality physician: advising yearly checkups for prostate, mammograms, daily dose of aspirin, cautions against smoking and weight gain, etc.

QUESTION: which set of traits is easier to rate, evaluate? But is this what ought to count?

A friend of mine introduced policy governance to her hospital board (board members are in charge of ends, not means) and she reminded me how often she remembered advice given to her: Don’t choose ends that are easy to rate just because they are easy. Choose proper ends and work over evaluation criteria to try to rate their achievement.

Every professional deserves the experience that Gary offered us last night. Lorell will tell you when you can hear it on one of our podcasts.


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