Guide to Patient Satisfaction Ratings

Dartmouth-Hitchcock believes that providing information about our providers leads to engaging our patients in their own care and results in the best clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. Being able to read reliable reviews and comments of our providers will help you choose the caregiver that is right for you, and help you feel confident in the care you will receive.

We use patient experience and satisfaction surveys to gather the reviews and ratings you will find on our websites. We rely on questions from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Survey CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS), which is designed to attribute actual patient experiences to an individual provider. Survey responses are then converted to star ratings to make them visual and easy to understand. These ratings are published for a provider once he or she has a minimum of 30 completed surveys.

Below are some of the questions we receive about our survey and process. If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Patient Experience at office.of.patient.experience@hitchcock.org.

Who receives the survey?

Patients who are treated by our providers are randomly invited to complete surveys. Surveys are offered by mail and give patients an opportunity to provide feedback about their experience with their provider on specific aspects of care. Each year, over 45,000 outpatient surveys are returned. The results of the surveys are shared with clinical departments and individual providers to identify opportunities to improve and enhance the care we offer.

What questions do we ask?

On behalf of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Press Ganey administers the CAHPS® Hospital Survey and CAHPS Clinician and Group Practice survey, developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, for use in hospitals and medical practices across the country. The surveys ask patients to evaluate specific aspects of their experience and care. Results are used to evaluate our patient’s overall perception of care and to identify areas for improvement. Specifically, we rely on the following six questions from the survey to develop our website star ratings:

  1. Did the provider explain things in a way that was easy to understand?
  2. Did the provider listen carefully to you?
  3. Did the provider give you easy to understand information about your health questions or concerns?
  4. Did the provider seem to know important information about your medical history?
  5. Did the provider show respect for what you had to say?
  6. Did the provider spend enough time with you?

Are all comments posted?

We post both positive and negative comments which are gathered from our surveys with the following exceptions:

  1. Comments which are not specific to the individual provider or department.
  2. Comments which risk the privacy and confidentiality of the patient.
  3. Comments that include profanity or offensive language.
  4. Comments that include potential libelous or defamatory content or personal attacks.

While comments are posted in an anonymous manner, we understand some patients may recognize their comment and wish for it to be removed from our website. Patients may request to remove a comment from their doctor's profile by contacting the Office of Patient Experience at office.of.patient.experience@hitchcock.org.

Why aren’t patient ratings and comments available for every provider?

You can expect the highest level of care and service from our providers, but not all may have star ratings and reviews online. A provider's rating will only be posted on the site after he or she has received a minimum of 30 completed surveys. This minimum increases the accuracy and reliability of the ratings you will see.

Other reasons for ratings to not be displayed on a provider's profile include:

  • The provider may care for patients only as a part of a team in the hospital
  • The provider may not have direct contact with patients, although they may be an important part of the care team. These providers may include pathologists and radiologists.

Can anyone complete a survey or post a comment about a provider?

No. While we send surveys by random selection to outpatients and inpatients, the star ratings posted on our website reflect comments submitted by those who have outpatient visits. This allows us to confirm that results are based entirely from patients who have been treated by the provider.

Why would you post comments about providers?

We understand that patients want to be involved in their care. We also know that the provider-patient relationship is critical in achieving the best possible care and engaging patients in their care plan. To meet that need, we provide information that allows patients to select the best provider to meet their needs and build a level of trust and satisfaction. For these reasons, we offer meaningful and reliable feedback from prior patients.

How many patients respond to these surveys?

Each year, over 45,000 outpatient surveys are returned.