Determinants of patient satisfaction in a large, municipal ED: the role of demographic variables, visit characteristics, and patient perceptions

Am J Emerg Med. 2000 Jul;18(4):394-400. doi: 10.1053/ajem.2000.7316.


We investigated predictors of patient satisfaction in a large, municipal emergency department (ED). Patients were telephoned 10 days postvisit, and satisfaction was assessed using a structured survey with 22 items measuring several domains, as well as the estimated length of stay. The dependent variables consisted of ratings of overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending the ED to others. Data were obtained from 437 (38.7%) patients. Univariate statistics revealed strong relations between indicators of perceived care and both dependent variables, with weaker and mixed findings pertaining to demographics and visit characteristics. The final logistic regression predicting overall satisfaction included the following items (P < .05): degree to which staff cared for the patient as a person, perceptions of safety, understandability of discharge instructions, nurse's technical skills, and satisfaction with wait for physician. Likelihood to recommend was associated with (P < .05): degree to which staff cared for the patient as a person, understandability of discharge instructions, perceptions of safety, age, and insurance status. Patients' perceptions of care, rather than demographics and visit characteristics, most consistently predicted satisfaction. However, differences were observed between the specific predictors for overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend, providing a possible explanation for inconsistencies observed in the literature.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Municipal / standards*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Louisiana
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Health Care