Determinants of patient satisfaction: a systematic review

Authors: Batbaatar E, Dorjdagva J et al.

Reference: Royal Society of Public Health 2016. 2017 March: 137 (2): 89-101.

Summarised on: 3 May 2018

The aim of this study was to identify the key determinants of patients’ satisfaction, or in other words what patients value from their health care professionals. The authors analysed 109 studies related to patient satisfaction. These studies were limited to the time period of 1980 – 2014.

Twenty two determinants were identified and broken into two categories, ‘health care provider-related determinants’ and ‘patient-related characteristics.’

The first category included indicators to do with the health care professional or their practice. For example, technical care, interpersonal care, physical environment, access, organisational characteristics, continuity of care and outcome of care.

While patient characteristics referred to age, gender, education, socio-economic status, marital status, race, religion, geographical characteristics, visit regularity, length of stay, health status, personality and expectations.

The authors’ report that health care providers’ characteristics had the biggest impact on patient satisfaction. Interpersonal care which referred ‘to the amount of caring for patients through noticing, participating, sharing, active listening, companioning, complimenting, comforting, hoping, forgiving, and accepting was most likely to impact patient satisfaction.’

This was followed by the health carer’s professional competence, the physical environment of the facility, accessibility, and continuity of care, hospital characteristics, and outcomes of care. Continuity of care was particularly important for older patients.

The authors’ also reported on patient related characteristics. The two main characteristics which made a difference was a patient’s perceived health status and their expectations of the health care services.

If a patient reported poor health they were more likely not to be satisfied with their health services. Patients whose expectations matched their health service performance were more satisfied with their healthcare.

The authors’ conclude the study by arguing there is a need to have more focus on interpersonal care in medical workforce training programmes. The authors’ also point out the diverse range of measures of patient satisfaction means that studies are difficult to compare and more work needs to be done in this area.


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