Objective: Patient satisfaction is regarded as a component of the quality of medical care. We examined the association between quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Population-based random sample in North Carolina, United States, 1997.
Participants: 591 African-Americans aged > or = 18 years with self-reported diabetes were interviewed for providers' delivery of 10 preventive measures and patients' performance of four preventive measures for diabetes care.
Main outcome measures: Satisfaction with health care providers with respect to 11 items, on a 4-point scale (excellent, good, fair, and poor). Average satisfaction scores were compared according to levels of quality of care.
Results: Patient satisfaction was positively associated with income, employment, diabetes education, ease of getting care during the last year, having health care coverage and having one physician for diabetes care (P < 0.05 for each). Adjusted for age, sex, education, employment, and income, 8 of 10 preventive care practices by providers during the previous year--monitoring of concentrations of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and cholesterol; performing eye, foot, and gum examinations; and physician counseling on self-monitoring of blood glucose concentrations, exercise, and weight reduction--were associated with higher satisfaction scores (P < 0.05). Patients' performance of three of four preventive practices--taking medications for diabetes as prescribed, performing daily self-examination of the feet, and going for an eye examination with dilation of the pupils--were also associated with higher satisfaction scores (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Quality of diabetes care was positively associated with patient satisfaction with provider of care. Prospective studies are needed to confirm this association and its direction.