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Bedside Manner, Board Certification Matter: Survey Reveals Top Qualities for Consumers Choosing a Doctor
Date:8/4/2008

Although Ranked Highly, Certification Understanding Limited

EVANSTON, Ill., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by the American Board of Medical Specialties:

At-A-Glance

-- A new survey from the American Board of Medical Specialties found that more than nine out of 10 Americans ranked communication skills and board certification highest in important qualities they look for in choosing a doctor.

-- The survey found that most Americans think board certification is important, but don't understand what it means.

-- The majority of respondents had never checked to see if their doctor is board certified.

When it comes to choosing a doctor, most Americans rank bedside manner and communications skills at the top of the list of qualities important to them, far ahead of the doctor's hospital affiliation, place of training or office location, according to a survey commissioned by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization that oversees the board certification of U.S. medical specialists.

Having a doctor who is board certified is a close second in importance to consumers.

Ninety-five percent of respondents ranked communications skills and bedside manner as important, with board certification ranked as important by 91 percent. When asked to select the "most important" physician attribute, 34 percent named bedside manner and communication skills. Although 25 percent of respondents listed board certification as the "most important" physician attribute, the survey also showed that the majority of respondents didn't understand what board certification is.

"While the vast majority of respondents said board certification is important to them, most didn't understand the meaning of board certification," said ABMS president and CEO Kevin Weiss, MD. "Sixty percent incorrectly believe that a doctor has to be board certified to practice medicine and only 45
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SOURCE American Board of Medical Specialties
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