Managing primary care using patient satisfaction measures

J Healthc Manag. 2005 Sep-Oct;50(5):311-24; discussion 324-5.


Our study aimed to identify which attributes of a primary healthcare experience have the most impact on patient satisfaction as well as which aspects of each attribute are most significant in patients' response to the services they receive. The three attributes examined in this study were access, staff care, and physician care. Analyses of the aspects of each attribute controlled for age, gender, and race. Data used in this study were obtained through a survey questionnaire with random sampling, resulting in the sample size of 8,465. The psychometric properties of the questionnaire were also examined and showed appropriate reliability and validity. The multiple regression analysis showed that among the three attributes, physician care was most influential, closely followed by staff care, with access having much less influence. Further analyses revealed that specific aspects of each attribute were more influential on patient satisfaction. Within the physician care attribute, patients were found to be rational consumers who were looking for surrogate indicators of correct diagnosis and treatment options among the measures available to them. They were much less likely to be influenced by so-called bedside manner. Within the staff care attribute, willingness and compassionate behaviors of staff and prompt service were most important. Within the access attribute, patients sought caring interaction with appointment personnel. After considering the findings, we discuss possible actions for healthcare managers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Information Systems
  • Female
  • Group Practice / organization & administration
  • Group Practice / standards*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Indiana
  • Male
  • Managed Care Programs / standards
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / ethnology
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires