Kevin Sullivan, a partner in patient satisfaction survey firm Sullivan Luallin Inc. in San Diego, has databases with the views of 340,000 patients covering 53 medical specialties.

At the Medical Group Management Association's Annual Conference, Oct. 24-27 in New Orleans, Sullivan will host a session unveiling secrets of that data. One big one: If patients like the staff and their own physician, the practice's patient satisfaction scores on all other measures of the practice will be higher, regardless of how satisfied patients actually are with those other measures. "If personal scores are high, you get a significant bump in acceptable wait times and in satisfaction with parking," Sullivan says. "Your people scores exhibit a halo effect on every other score."

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