Partnership between patients and health care professionals is an important determinant of patient satisfaction

Michael Heberer, Linda Bourke, Frances Wildhaber, Josef Sütterlin


Background: A five year single institution survey of patient experience was analysed according to organisational units and for disease- and treatment- based patient groups to detect potential predictors of patient satisfaction.

Methods: The public and academic, acute care hospital was monitored during times of change in reimbursement and ownership (2010-2014) and exhibited a high level of overall patient satisfaction (score 3.5/4) which remained constant over the duration of the study. Out of 134,593 in-house patients during this period, 54,686 responded (40.6%) to the 18-question survey mailed a fortnight after hospital discharge. This patient satisfaction database was merged with the medical and administrative database in order to enable subgroup analysis and factorial analysis performed.

Results: Despite a high level of overall patient satisfaction there existed remarkable heterogeneity within the hospital in patient satisfaction between different organisational units or patient groups. Patient socio-demographic factors remained stable among the groups and over time and made a significant but albeit small, contribution to patient satisfaction variance: organisational units (0.7%), age (0.22%), patient origin (0.12%), gender (0.1%), type of insurance (0.04%), migration status (0.03%) and destination (post-discharge location, 0.02%). Without a significant influence was comorbidity, admission status, or length of stay. Using factorial analysis the single most relevant factor was partnership which explained 25% of the variance of patient satisfaction. Partnership or “partnership between patients and health care professionals” included coherent information exchange, involvement in decision-making and treatment with dignity and respect. Other components influencing satisfaction were responsiveness, information, family involvement and pain control (accounting for 1%-8% variance).

Conclusions: The structural heterogeneity of hospitals demands the analysis of patient satisfaction in subgroups and over periods of time (trend analysis). Furthermore, “partnership between patients and the health care professionals” appears to be a factor that offers potential for quality improvement initiatives.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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