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Physician characteristics associated with patient experience scores: implications for adjusting public reporting of individual physician scores
  1. Kathryn Elizabeth Engelhardt1,2,
  2. Richard S Matulewicz1,
  3. John O DeLancey1,
  4. Ryan P Merkow1,
  5. Christopher M Quinn1,
  6. Lindsey Kreutzer1,
  7. Karl Y Bilimoria1
  1. 1 Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2 Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina - College of Medicine, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karl Y Bilimoria; k-bilimoria{at}

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Public reporting of individual physician patient experience scores is becoming widespread on hospital websites and may be included on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Physician Compare website in the future.1 2 Moreover, physician groups can submit patient experience scores for incentive compensation through the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, and many groups are including patient experience scores in the allocation of incentive compensation.3 However, there is concern that certain physician characteristics (eg, gender, age, training) may unduly influence these scores and may merit consideration of adjustment when used in these ways. It is important to understand whether uncontrollable factors beyond the patient–physician encounter may influence patients’ scores regarding a physician. It was our hypothesis that physician factors such as age, sex and aspects of his or her medical training significantly influence patient experience scores. Therefore, our objective was to assess the association between physician characteristics and patient experience scores from a diverse group of hospitals and medical groups.


Patient experience survey data were acquired for all physicians from a large, diverse, six-hospital (one academic medical centre, one large community hospital, four small community hospitals) health system consisting of 252 outpatient clinic locations for fiscal years (FY) 2013–2017. Only the outpatient survey (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, Clinican and Group (CG-CAHPS)) was examined as the inpatient survey (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, Hospital (HCAHPS)) is not attributable to a single physician. Delivered nationally by a commercial third-party vendor, the survey contains 10 unique questions specifically addressing the …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The first affiliation has been amended.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Northwestern University Institutional Review Board deemed this study exempt.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.