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Consumers Weigh in on Which TV Doc They Would Want as Their Own:Survey Results from the American Board of Medical Specialties Find Dr. House Most Loved/Hated TV Doctor

Gregory House (from the FOX program “House”) is America’s most loved and most hated TV doctor and the medical professional most would want as their own doctor, according to a survey conducted by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The survey found that many people responded positively to Dr. House’s medical capabilities, while at the same time, many respondents didn’t like him because of his gruff bedside manner and poor communication skills.

EVANSTON, Ill. (Business Wire EON) November 18, 2008 -- Ironically, the results of the survey suggest the qualities people value most in a physician are bedside manner or communication skills (95 percent) and board certification (93 percent).

The survey data reinforce a commentary published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that calls for greater emphasis on "emotional intelligence" in the training of doctors. The authors, from Stanford University, contend that emotional sensitivity and increased communications and interpersonal skills can improve healthcare outcomes for patients.

"If Dr. House were a real board-certified physician, he would be required to participate in lifelong learning through the ABMS Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC) program, which includes ongoing assessment of a doctor's communications skills," said Kevin B. Weiss, MD, president and CEO of ABMS. According to Dr. Weiss, ABMS also is currently exploring tools to help assess physicians by surveying their patients' experiences.

Other findings from the survey:

From a list of 13 fictional television doctors, Gregory House is the one most respondents (20 percent) would like to have as their doctor. Following closely behind are Marcus Welby ("Marcus Welby, M.D.," 13 percent), Hawkeye Pierce ("M*A*S*H," 11 percent) and John Carter ("ER," 10 percent). Other TV docs mentioned in the survey, each of whom got less than 10 percent of the vote, were Cliff Huxtable ("The Cosby Show"); Miranda Bailey ("Grey's Anatomy"); Derek Shepherd ("Grey's Anatomy"); Michaela "Mike" Quinn ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"); Doogie Howser ("Doogie Howser, M.D."); Jack Shephard ("Lost"); James Kildare ("Dr. Kildare"); and Frasier Crane ("Frasier"). The physicians who respondents said they would least like to have as a doctor are Doogie Howser ("Doogie Howser, M.D.;" 17 percent); Gregory House (11 percent) and Frasier Crane ("Frasier;" 11 percent). Overall, the main reasons why these doctors would not be chosen by respondents were for personal qualities (31 percent) or professional reasons (29 percent.) Seven percent do not know why they wouldn't choose them as their doctor. While the vast majority of respondents said board certification is important to them, most didn't understand what board certification entails. Sixty percent incorrectly believed that a doctor has to be board certified to practice medicine and only 45 percent of survey respondents had ever checked to see if their doctor is board certified. "One of the problems may be that more than half (57 percent) of respondents say it is difficult to find useful, clear information on doctors," said Dr. Weiss.

About ABMS. Now in its 75th year, American Board of Medical Specialties is the preeminent medical organization overseeing physician certification in the United States. It assists its 24 Member Boards in their efforts to develop and implement educational and professional standards for the evaluation and certification of physician specialists. ABMS Member Boards provide physician certification information to ABMS for its certification verification service programs. ABMS is recognized by the key healthcare credentialing accreditation entities as a primary equivalent source of board certification data for medical specialists. Patients can visit or call toll-free 1-866-ASK-ABMS to see if their physician is board certified by an ABMS Member Board. For more information about ABMS visit or call (847) 491-9091.

The 24 Member Boards that make up the ABMS Board Enterprise covers over 145 medical specialties and subspecialties include: American Board of Allergy and Immunology, American Board of Anesthesiology, American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, American Board of Dermatology, American Board of Emergency Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Medical Genetics, American Board of Neurological Surgery, American Board of Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Board of Ophthalmology, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Board of Otolaryngology, American Board of Pathology, American Board of Pediatrics American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Preventive Medicine, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, American Board of Radiology, American Board of Surgery, American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and American Board of Urology.

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