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Patients do not Know what High-Quality Care Looks Like

Update Date: Jul 21, 2014 10:06 AM EDT

A new survey discovered that many Americans do not know what high-quality medical care is supposed to look like. Based on the answers, many Americans take into account only two main factors when choosing their doctors, which are insurance and good bedside manner.

In the poll, carried out by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the researchers found that only 22 percent of the people stated that they believed they could find information to compare the quality of local doctors. 60 percent of people stated that they trusted the opinions of their family members or friends. Almost 50 percent of the people trusted the referrals that their primary care doctors gave them.

On the other hand, people were less likely to believe online patient reviews, health insurers, rating websites, the media and the government when it came to choosing a doctor.

The poll also asked the participant about the quality of care that they received. Only four percent of people believed that they had received poor care. Roughly 50 percent of the people believed that a higher quality of care was tied to higher cost. The researchers stressed the importance of taking one's time in deciding which doctor to go to.

"Some of the nicest doctors are the least competent," cautioned Dr. Elliott Fisher of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice reported by Philly.

The researchers reported that when people choose doctors, the number one leading contributor is insurance. For people without insurance, their number one leading deciding factor is cost. Around 80 percent of people judge a doctor's experience based on one procedure. The same percentage of people stated that bedside manner affected their impression of their doctor's quality. 75 percent stated that a good office staff and ease of scheduling an appointment would positively impact their decision. 62 percent stated that waiting room time influenced their decision as well.

The poll reached 1,002 nationally representative adults from May 27 to June 18. The poll results can be found here.

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