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A physician is judged by the three As: Ability, Availability and Affability.1
How many physicians have heard the above statement at some point in their training? Perhaps the order has been different: Availability, Affability, Ability? What is the importance of the cognitive and technical skill set possessed by a given physician? Is this why patients seek out their given doctor? Or is it really other factors that guide the patient’s decision-making? What do glaucoma patients want?
Well, it turns out that we now have some hard data to look to along these lines. In this issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology, Bhargava, Bhan-Bhargava, Foss and King evaluate patient preferences in a first of its kind analysis aimed at glaucoma patients (see page 1601).2 Using conjoint analysis and multivariate linear regression, they examine the relevance of various parameters in the patient’s decision-making process, and do so in the context of the intensity of their disease. The answers may not be what physicians wish to hear.
A doctor’s medical ability is not the primary driver in patient preference, nor is availability. Affability does not even make the list. When considering the various potential factors …
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