Assessing patient satisfaction and quality of care through observation and interview

Hosp Top. Summer 2002;80(3):4-10. doi: 10.1080/00185860209597996.


The purpose of this study was to investigate patient satisfaction using an in-depth approach rather than the more common patient survey method. The authors conducted patient interviews and participant-oriented observations between patients, family members, and medical staff in a large teaching hospital to assess patients' perceptions of the quality of care provided on a medical-surgical unit. The observations were classified according to the Donabedian model of quality of care: technical care, interpersonal care, and amenities of care. Technical interactions (92.5%, or n = 123) were most common, followed by interpersonal interactions (5%, or n = 7) and interactions related to amenities of care (2%, or n = 3). Of the patients interviewed, 89% (n = 40) were satisfied with the treatment and quality of care they received. Of the 10% (n = 9) of patients who reported dissatisfaction with the hospitalization, most of the complaints were related to surgical procedures. Observations and patient interviews may provide a more informative and accurate assessment of patient satisfaction than a reliance on patient surveys as the sole measure.

MeSH terms

  • Florida
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Hospitals, Teaching / standards*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Observation
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires