More physicians doesn't increase patient satisfaction

February 25, 2011

Medicare patients living in areas with a larger supply of physicians were no more satisfied with their care than patients living in regions with a smaller physician supply, according to a study.

Medicare patients living in areas with a larger supply of physicians were no more satisfied with their care than patients living in regions with a smaller physician supply, according to a study by Dartmouth College investigators and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and published in the February issue of Health Affairs.

The study also found that seniors living in areas with a large supply of physicians were no more likely to report having a primary care physician as their personal doctor. In addition, no significant differences were found in numbers of visits to their personal physician in the previous year, amount of time spent with a physician, or access to tests or specialists.

Researchers surveyed 2,515 Medicare patients about their perceptions of access and satisfaction with their health care, and directly compared the relationship between physicians per capita in designated geographic areas and respondents' ratings of the care they received.