Monday, December 17, 2012

Patient Satisfaction May Impact Testing Markets

In the Kalorama Linked In Group we discuss the pressures of patient satisfaction for doctors and healthcare organizations.

Our discussion is based on an article in The American Medical News of the American Medical Association. regarding the focus on keeping patients happy in healthcare organizations.  The AMA article relates the pressure that doctors feel to keep patients happy, which is often in direct conflict with treatment procedures and According to one physician quoted in the article:

"If I feel the patient is not an appropriate candidate for opioids, I should say no,” she says. “But in the back of my mind, the question can arise, ‘What will the patient do with that?’ Especially since the No. 1 question on our patient-satisfaction survey is, ‘Are you happy with the way the physician treated your pain?’ ”

This is an especially important trend because  patient satisfaction could have a direct impact on doctor's salaries, according to the article.

For Dr. Zgierska and a growing number of physicians, saying no could carry a price tag. The University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, the clinical practice organization for UW faculty physicians, recently created a new compensation plan for its primary care doctors. They can receive a 5% increase in their base pay if they meet benchmarks on certain performance measures, including patient-satisfaction metrics.

If this trend holds that patient satisfaction is winning out over cost-cutting. We note that it could have interesting ramifications for diagnostic market forecasts.  Diagnostics is expected to be a cost saver - the idea is that tests save because you test a patient for appropriate treatment before using.  But if doctors skip steps for patient satisfaction reasons, this may hurt testing markets.    At the highest level, the idea of advanced pharmacogenomic testing is to reduce costs by keeping a therapeutic to patients most able to use.  But there again if the introduction of a companion test causes patient satisfaction problems.

Our personalized medicine report takes a look at market for diagnostic tests intended to target a specific patient with the most effective therapy.