Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of patient satisfaction with type of practitioner attending visits in the primary care practice of a managed care organization (MCO).
Study design: We conducted a retrospective observational study of 41,209 patient satisfaction surveys randomly sampled from visits provided by the pediatrics and adult medicine departments from 1997 to 2000. Logistic regression, with practitioner and practice fixed effects, of patient satisfaction versus dissatisfaction was estimated for each of 3 scales: practitioner interaction, care access, and overall experience. Models were estimated separately by department. Independent variables were type of practitioner attending the visit and other patient and visit characteristics.
Results: Adjusted for patient and visit characteristics, patients were significantly more likely to be satisfied with practitioner interaction on visits attended by physician assistant/nurse practitioners (PA/NPs) than visits attended by MDs in both the adult medicine and pediatrics practices. Patient satisfaction with care access or overall experience did not significantly differ by practitioner type. In adult medicine, patients were more satisfied on diabetes visits provided by MDs than by PA/NPs. Otherwise, patient satisfaction for the combined effects of practitioner type and specific presenting condition did not differ.
Conclusions: Averaged over many primary care visits provided by many physicians and midlevel practitioners, patients in this MCO were as satisfied with care provided by PA/NPs as with care provided by MDs.