Bias in Patient Experience Scores in Radiation Oncology: A Multicenter Retrospective Analysis

Elaine Cha, Noah J. Mathis, Himanshu Joshi, Sonam Sharma, Melissa Zinovoy, Meng Ru, Oren Cahlon, Erin F. Gillespie, Deborah C. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Patient experience scores are increasingly important in measuring quality of care and determining reimbursement from payers, including the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program and the Radiation Oncology Model. However, the role of bias in patient experience scores in oncology is unknown, raising the possibility that such payment structures may inadvertently perpetuate bias in reimbursement. Therefore, the authors characterized patient-, physician-, and practice-level predictors of patient experience scores in patients undergoing radiation therapy. Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed patient experience surveys for radiation oncology patients treated at two large multisite academic cancer centers. The outcome was responses on four survey questions. Covariates included self-reported patient demographics, physician characteristics, practice setting characteristics, and wait-time rating linked to each survey. Multivariable ordinal regression models were fitted to identify predictors of receiving a higher score on each of the survey questions. Results: In total, 2,868 patients completed surveys and were included in the analysis. Patient experience scores were generally high, with >90% of respondents answering 5 of 5 on the four survey items. Physician gender was not associated with any measured patient experience outcomes (P > 0.40 for all). Independent predictors of higher score included a wait-time experience classified as “good” compared with “not good” (q <.001 for all). Conclusions: Oncology practices aiming to improve patient experience scores may wish to focus their attention on improving wait times for patients. Although a difference in patient experience scores on the basis of physician gender was not observed, such bias is likely to be complex, and further research is needed to characterize its effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-551
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Patient experience
  • Radiation Oncology Model
  • quality


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