Do you wonder what people think or use as their milestones when they rate their doctors and why they like or don’t like them?

After all, nowadays, people can reach their doctors on a personal level in many ways:

  • Social Media
  • Comments on blogs
  • Physician portals
  • emails
  • and more

Back in 2014, this very question was asked by Ashish K. Jha who asked on twitter, “What makes a good doctor and can it be measured”?

Ashish says the following:

“A decade or so ago, many physicians didn’t think the quality of their care could be measured and any attempt to do so was “bean counting” folly at best or destructive and dangerous at worse.  Yet, in the last decade, we have seen a sea change.

We have developed hundreds of quality measures and physicians are grumblingly accepting that quality measurement is here to stay.  But the unease with quality measurement has not gone away and here’s why.  If you ask “quality experts” what good care looks like for a patient with diabetes, they might apply the following criteria:  good hemoglobin A1C control, regular checking of cholesterol, effective LDL control, smoking cessation counseling, and use of an ACE Inhibitor or ARB in subsets of patients with diabetes.

Yet, when I think about great clinicians that I know – do I ask myself who achieves the best hemoglobin A1C control? No. Those measures – all evidence-based, all closely tied to better patient outcomes –don’t really feel like they measure the quality of the physician.”

good doctor twitter

When asked on twitter “What makes a good doctor?” over 200 answers came pouring in.  Listed below are the top 10.  Top answer? Having empathy. #2? Being a good listener.  It wasn’t until we get to #5 that we see “competent/effective”.

I  concluded one thing:  most people assume that physicians meet a threshold of intelligence, knowledge, and judgment and therefore, what differentiates good doctors from mediocre ones is the personal reach and interaction that physicians have with their patients.

Most American physicians meet competence with certification – our system of licensure, board exams, etc. ensure that a vast majority of physicians have at least a basic level of knowledge and approval from the various hospitals that doctors are affiliated with.

What most people don’t appreciate, however, is that even among this group, there are large, meaningful variations in capability and clinical judgment.

John Birkmeyer responded in Twitter stating:

“I’d want different things from my PCP and heart surgeon. Humility. Over-rated for the latter” John was raising a key distinction between what we want out of a physician (an Internist or a family practitioner) versus a surgeon.  Yes, in order to be “good”, humility and empathy are important, even for cardiac surgeons. But when they are cutting into your sternum?  You want them to be technically proficient and that trait trumps their ability (or lack thereof) to be empathic. Surgeons’ empathy and kindness matter – but it may not be as critical to their being an effective surgeon as their technical and team management skills. For Internists, effectiveness is much more dependent on their ability to listen, be empathic, and take patients’ values into consideration.”

Of course patients want their physicians to be able to make the right diagnoses, no matter how difficult and to know (and execute) the appropriate treatments. But what patients crave is empathy from their physicians which can be measured through health rating sites and patient experience surveys.

Patients also want to feel that their questions are answered, and they are not only able to reach their physicians but that their physicians respond to them.  They want to feel validated, and they want to feel that they can engage with their physicians.

Engagement and interaction is best achieved through keeping doors open through physician portals and social media. (not eliminating phone calls of course)

So What About You?

Do you have a patient portal?  Do you have social media sites?  Are you interacting with your patients and prospective patients in forums and chatrooms?

Yes, I see you wagging your head and thinking, who has the time for this?

The thing is, you don’t have to spend the time yourself.  This is where outsourcing comes in and gives you the maximum effective use of your time elsewhere, where you need or want to be.

Send a note to or the contact page of this site and get a free consultation.  Let’s discuss your needs and get you started!