Which Ophthalmologists Receive the Most Unsolicited Complaints?

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Older ophthalmologists are not as likely to receive complaints from their patients as their younger counterparts, according to a retrospective cohort study involving more than 1,300 eye care clinicians. 

Participants included attending ophthalmologists and neuro-ophthalmologists who graduated from medical school before 2010 and were part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Patient Advocacy Reporting System. They averaged 47 years of age, and 9% were >70. ~Three-fourths were in academic practice. Investigators divided them into 5 age groups and looked at their time of employment to receipt of the first complaint. Among the results: 

  • Ophthalmologists >70 years of age experienced less than 1 complaint/1000 follow-up days. 
  • This compared to 1.41, 1.84, 2.02, and 1.88/1000 follow-up days in descending order of age band.
  • By 5.5 years, the youngest group had an estimated complaint rate risk of 0.523. 
  • By 10 years, the complaint rate risk of those >70 years of age was 0.364.
  • Ophthalmologists 41 to 50 years of age were 73% more likely to experience their first complaint sooner than those >70. 
  • Those 31 to 40 years of age were more than twice as likely to experience such. 

Fathy C, Pichert J, Domenico H, Kohanim S, Sternberg P, Cooper W.  Association between ophthalmologist age and unsolicited patient complaints. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136(1):61-67. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.5154.

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