U. becomes 1st to post patient satisfaction surveys on its healthcare website

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SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah hospital system launched a new tool that will make it easier for patients to select a doctor who best fits their needs.

University of Utah Health Care claims it's the first in the country to post online physician reviews and comments. When a patient is treated at University Hospital, they are asked to rate their doctor in nine different areas. They're also given the chance to comment on their experience.

All that information is then posted online for other potential patients to review. The new system is already receiving positive feedback.

"I did a lot of research on where we were going to deliver and who we would use for our OBGYN," said patient Nina Walker.

Walker recently delivered her first baby. She said choosing a doctor was a difficult process.

We know that patients expect transparency, so if you say something bad about our doctors - as long as it's not libelous or slanderous -- it stays on there.

–Chris Nelson

"I had to go online," Walker said. "I looked at different chat websites. It's hard because you don't know who these people are or if they are even patients or if it's the doctors' staff posting things. You just don't know."

This is a problem University of Utah Health Care is looking to eliminate by posting data from patient surveys on its website.

"If we've had 400 surveys of a different doctor, that information is going to be better than going to a vitals where they have had three or four reviews of a single doctor," said Chris Nelson with University Health Care.

Most hospital systems survey their patients, but University of Utah Health Care is the only one making that information accessible to the public.

"We know that patients expect transparency, so if you say something bad about our doctors - as long as it's not libelous or slanderous -- it stays on there," said Nelson.

Patients say the new tool is not only convenient, it gives them peace of mind.

"When I'm searching for a physician, it's important to me to see what regular patients think," said mother Shelley Furner.

Linda Torres adds, "I have a lot to live for. I want to live, so I thought I'd find the best doctor."

University of Utah Health Care officials say they want to give the public an accurate view of their doctors - an idea many are happy to get behind.

"I get to be the one to choose the doctor and to be confident in that," said Walker. "Not just pick one and hope it all goes well."

University Health Care will only post ratings after it receives at least 30 patient surveys on a specific doctor.


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