USA Today is reporting that the ethics council of the American Medical Association is pressing the doctors group to endorse the practice of undercover patients.
Some doctors are outraged at the idea. Others believe it is appropriate, with certain conditions.
I join the latter group. Think of this as a form of “Mystery Shopping,” where consumers are paid to visit a store or restaurant and then report on the service they received.
The proposal to the AMA includes restrictions that make sure fake patients don’t interfere with treating real ones; gives doctors a heads-up that undercover patients might be visiting; and ensures that bad reviews aren’t used to punish doctors.
I agree with those who say that undercover patients are neither “devious” nor “spying.”
Although doctors may not like what they hear from these sham patients, I believe these patients can help us provide better care for all our patients.