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Older Ophthalmologists Less Likely to Have Patient Complaints

Older Ophthalmologists Less Likely to Have Patient Complaints
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FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Older ophthalmologists are less likely than younger ones to receive unsolicited patient complaints (UPCs), according to a study published online Nov. 30 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Cherie A. Fathy, M.D., M.P.H., from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine the correlation between ophthalmologist age and the likelihood of generating UPCs. The time to first complaint was assessed between 2002 and 2015 in 1,342 attending ophthalmologists or neuro-ophthalmologists who had graduated from medical school before 2010, with a mean follow-up of 9.8 years.

The researchers found that the lowest complaint rate was seen for ophthalmologists older than 70 years (0.71 per 1,000 follow-up days versus 1.41, 1.84, 2.02, and 1.88 in descending order of age band). The youngest group had an estimated UPC risk of 0.523 by 2,000 days of follow-up (or within 5.5 years). Participants in the older-than-70-years age band had an estimated risk of UPC of 0.364 by 4,000 days (>10 years). The risk of incurring a UPC was significantly higher for those aged 41 to 50 years and for those aged 31 to 40 years (hazard ratios, 1.73 and 2.36) compared with those aged 71 years or older.

“The findings may have practical implications for patient safety, clinical education, and clinical practice management,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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