Purpose: To compare patients' views on quality of care in different countries using a theory-based instrument, while at the same time controlling for the following potential confounders: type of care system (private vs public), type of care (kind of health problem), gender, age, and subjective wellbeing.
Design/methodology/approach: Patients capable of communicating in wards (medical and surgical departments) and day surgery departments in England, France, Norway, and Sweden were recruited consecutively, to participate in a programme run by the health-care company Capio. Ward patients: England (n=1236), France (n=1051), Norway (n=226), and Sweden (n=428). Day surgery patients: England (n=887), France (n=544), Norway (n=101), and Sweden (n=742). Average response rate across settings: approximately 75 per cent. Patients evaluated the quality of the care they actually received and the subjective importance they ascribed to different aspects of care. The questionnaire "Quality from the patient's perspective" (QPP) was used (modified short version).
Findings: Cross-national comparisons were made within each of the two care contexts (wards and day surgery) separately for men and women. Quality of care evaluations were adjusted for age and subjective wellbeing. English and French patients scored significantly higher than Norwegian and Swedish on both kinds of ratings (perceived reality and subjective importance), in both kinds of care contexts, and in both sexes.
Originality/value: Cross-national comparisons of patients' views on care can give meaningful guidance for practitioners only if they are context-specific and if well-known confounders are controlled for.