There is evidence that feedback from 360-degree surveys—combined with coaching—can improve physician team performance and quality of patient care. The Physicians Universal Leadership-Teamwork Skills Education (PULSE) 360 is one such survey tool that is used to assess work colleagues’ and coworkers’ perceptions of a physician’s leadership, teamwork, and clinical practice style. The Clinician & Group-Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and System (CG-CAHPS), developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services to serve as the benchmark for quality health care, is a survey tool for patients to provide feedback that is based on their recent experiences with staff and clinicians and soon will be tied to Medicare-based compensation of participating physicians. Prior research has indicated that patients and coworkers often agree in their assessment of physicians’ behavioral patterns. The goal of the current study was to determine whether 360-degree, also called multisource, feedback provided by coworkers could predict patient satisfaction/experience ratings. A significant relationship between these two forms of feedback could enable physicians to take a more proactive approach to reinforce their strengths and identify any improvement opportunities in their patient interactions by reviewing feedback from team members. An automated 360-degree software process may be a faster, simpler, and less resource-intensive approach than telephoning and interviewing patients for survey responses, and it potentially could facilitate a more rapid credentialing or quality improvement process leading to greater fiscal and professional development gains for physicians.
Our primary research question was to determine if PULSE 360 coworkers’ ratings correlate with CG-CAHPS patients’ ratings of overall satisfaction, recommendation of the physician, surgeon respect, and clarity of the surgeon’s explanation. Our secondary research questions were to determine whether CG-CAHPS scores correlate with additional composite scores from the Quality PULSE 360 (eg, insight impact score, focus concerns score, leadership-teamwork index score, etc).
We retrospectively analyzed existing quality improvement data from CG-CAHPS patient surveys as well as from a department quality improvement initiative using 360-degree survey feedback questionnaires (Quality PULSE 360 with coworkers). Bivariate analyses were conducted to identify significant relationships for inclusion of research variables in multivariate linear analyses (eg, stepwise regression to determine the best fitting predictive model for CG-CAHPS ratings). In all higher order analyses, CG-CAHPS ratings were treated as the dependent variables, whereas PULSE 360 scores served as independent variables. This approach led to the identification of the most predictive linear model for each CG-CAHPS’ performance rating (eg,  overall satisfaction;  recommendation of the physician;  surgeon respect; and  clarity of the surgeon’s explanation) regressed on all PULSE scores with which there was a significant bivariate relationship. Backward stepwise regression was then used to remove unnecessary predictors from the linear model based on changes in the variance explained by the model with or without inclusion of the predictor.
The Quality PULSE 360 insight impact score correlated with patient satisfaction (0.50, p = 0.01), patient recommendation (0.58, p = 0.002), patient rating of surgeon respect (0.74, p < 0.001), and patient impression of clarity of the physician explanation (0.69, p < 0.001). Additionally, leadership-teamwork index also correlated with patient rating of surgeon respect (0.46, p = 0.019) and patient impression of clarity of the surgeon’s explanation (0.39, p = 0.05). Multivariate analyses supported retention of insight impact as a predictor of patient overall satisfaction, patient recommendation of the surgeon, and patient rating of surgeon respect. Both insight impact and leadership-teamwork index were retained as predictors of patient impression of explanation. Several other PULSE 360 variables were correlated with CG-CAHPS ratings, but none were retained in the linear models post stepwise regression.
The relationship between Quality PULSE 360 feedback scores and measures of patient satisfaction reaffirm that feedback from work team members may provide helpful information into how patients may be perceiving their physicians’ behavior and vice versa. Furthermore, the findings provide tentative support for the use of team-based feedback to improve the quality of relationships with both coworkers and patients. The 360-degree survey process may offer an effective tool for physicians to obtain feedback about behavior that could directly impact practice reimbursement and reputation or potentially be used for bonuses to incentivize better team professionalism and patient satisfaction, ie, “pay-for-professionalism.” Further research is needed to expand on this line of inquiry, determine which interventions can improve 360-degree and patient satisfaction scores, and explain the shared variance in physician performance that is captured in the perceptions of patients and coworkers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11999-014-3981-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.