Background: Patient feedback is increasingly being used to assess the quality of healthcare.
Objective: To identify modifiable independent determinants of patients dissatisfaction with hospital emergency care.
Methods: The study group comprised a random sample of 3,152 of the 65,966 adult Israeli citizens discharged during November 1999 from emergency departments in 17 of the 32 acute care hospitals in Israel. A total of 2,543 (81%) responded to a telephone survey that used a structured questionnaire. The dependent variables included: hospital characteristics, patient demographic variables, patient perception of care, self-rated health status, problem severity, and outcome of care. The dependent variable was dissatisfaction with overall ED experience on a 1-5 Likert-type scale dichotomized into not satisfied (4 and 5) and satisfied (1, 2 and 3).
Results: Eleven percent of the population reported being dissatisfied with their emergency room visit. Univariate analyses revealed that dissatisfaction was significantly related to ethnic group, patient education, hospital identity and geographic location, perceived comfort of ED facilities, registration expediency, waiting times, perceived competence and attitudes of caregivers, explanations provided, self-rated health status, and resolution of the problem that led to referral to the ED. Multivariate analyses using logistic regressions indicated that the four most powerful predictors of dissatisfaction were patient perception of doctor competence and attitudes, outcomes of care, ethnicity, and self-rated health status.
Conclusions: Attempts to reduce dissatisfaction with emergency care should focus on caregiver conduct and attitudes. It may also be useful to improve caregiver communication skills, specifically with ethnic minorities and with patients who rate their health status as poor.