National Study: SF Bay Area Home to Happiest Patients

New Happy Patient Index spotlights Northern California, Honolulu & Indianapolis for the most positive online reviews of doctors

Best cities for patient satisfaction
San Francisco & Oakland patients are happiest in the U.S. with their medical providers.

As if an abundance of high-paying tech jobs, a mild climate year-round, and proximity to wine country didn’t provide enough reason to live in California, cities in the San Francisco Bay Area now have another quality-of-life indicator to crow about: the nation’s highest satisfaction with doctors, according to a new study of online doctor reviews.

In a nationwide review of physician ratings on the Internet, Vanguard Communications – a Denver-based healthcare marketing and public relations firm – ranked San Francisco/Oakland at number one nationally for patient satisfaction with their physicians and San Jose in eighth place. Vanguard derived its findings by developing special software to analyze online reviews on Google+ and Yelp.com websites of 46,300 individual doctors, group medical practices, clinics, and hospitals in the 100 largest U.S. cities.

Researchers tabulated the results in what the firm is calling the Happy Patient Index (HPI), providing a comparative snapshot of the state of satisfaction with American healthcare. Wealth – or a lack thereof – does not appear to affect patient satisfaction. Three of the top-10 happiest cities have mean household incomes below the national mean of $51,017: Indianapolis ($42,144), St. Louis ($34,384) and Cleveland ($26,556). Climate seems to have little effect as well.

“You can find happy patients everywhere, not just in sunny, warm places but also in relatively cloudy and damp locations such as Cleveland and Seattle,” says Vanguard CEO, Ron Harman King.

The happiest ten cities in the Happy Patient Index (HPI):

  1. San Francisco / Oakland, California
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Indianapolis, Indiana
  4. Seattle, Washington
  5. St. Louis, Missouri
  6. Cleveland, Ohio
  7. San Jose, California
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. New Orleans, Louisiana
  10. Birmingham, Alabama

Despite sharp differences in demographics, culture and mindsets between Oakland and San Francisco, for the purposes of its evaluation Vanguard treated the two cities as one metropolis and a single pool of healthcare providers.

Top 10 Cities for Patient Satisfaction

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Read more: 10 Worst Cities for Patient Satisfaction