Unexpected findings from a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that higher patient satisfaction, while associated with less emergency department use, was also associated with greater inpatient use, higher overall healthcare and prescription drug expenditures, and increased mortality.

In an analysis of over 50,000 patients, researchers from the University of California Davis in Sacramento found that those who rated themselves as most satisfied with their physicians incurred 8.8% higher health expenses in a 2-year period and were 26% more likely to die shortly thereafter than those who rated themselves less satisfied.

The findings highlight the dangers in putting too much emphasis on always giving patients what they want—including unnecessary services and prescriptions. But in a system that penalizes physicians if they risk not doing enough, that’s a tightrope walk.

Physician’s Weekly wants to know … What your opinion is about these findings? Are physicians trapped between a rock and a hard place or is there more in their control?