A randomized trial of four patient satisfaction questionnaires

Med Care. 2003 Dec;41(12):1343-52. doi: 10.1097/01.MLR.0000100580.94559.AD.


Background: Patient satisfaction surveys are increasingly used by hospitals. Many questionnaires are available, but little evidence exists to guide the choice of the most suitable instrument.

Objective: To compare the acceptability and patient perceptions of 4 patient satisfaction questionnaires.

Research design: Randomized trial of 4 satisfaction questionnaires: Picker, Patient Judgment System (PJS), Sequs, and a locally developed Lausanne questionnaire.

Subjects: Patients discharged from 2 Swiss teaching hospitals (n = 2850).

Measures: Response rates, missing data, completion time, and patient ratings of the questionnaire (5-point agree-disagree scale).

Results: Response rates were similar across instruments (Picker: 70%, PJS: 71%, Sequs: 68%, Lausanne: 73%; P= 0.27). The Picker questionnaire had the most missing responses (mean per item: Picker: 3.1%, PJS: 1.9%, Sequs: 1.6%, Lausanne: 1.1%; P<0.001) and took the longest to complete (minutes: Picker: 19.3, PJS: 12.5, Sequs: 13.4, Lausanne: 13.1; P<0.001), but the fewest patients indicated that the questionnaire failed to address at least 1 important aspect of the hospital stay (Picker: 28.2%, PJS: 38.8%, Sequs: 39.1%, Lausanne: 28.9%; P<0.001). Patient evaluations of the questionnaires were generally similar; the most favorable assessment was chosen by approximately half of the respondents (average of 10 items: Picker: 46.5%, PJS: 46.2%, Sequs: 47.4%, Lausanne: 48.2%; P= 0.60). Key survey results differed considerably by questionnaire.

Conclusions: No questionnaire emerged as uniformly better than the others in terms of acceptability and patient evaluations. All 4 could be used for patient satisfaction surveys.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys / methods*
  • Health Status
  • Hospital-Patient Relations*
  • Hospitals, Teaching / standards*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Switzerland