Background: Patient satisfaction has become an important indicator of primary care and healthcare system performance. Ethnic disparities in patient satisfaction and compliance with physician care have been studied in several countries. However, this issue has not received significant attention in Canada. The unique characteristics of the Canadian healthcare system and ethnic population make it worthwhile to examine this issue in this population. Therefore, we conducted a survey among Chinese and Whites in a Canadian city to determine their reported satisfaction, and perceptions of physicians.
Methods: The survey was conducted in English, Mandarin and Cantonese in 2005 among Chinese and White Canadians, 18 years of age or older, who had visited at least one physician in Canada.
Results: We analyzed 746 Chinese and 711 Whites in the general practitioner (GP) visit group and 485 Chinese and 637 Whites in the specialist visit group. A lower proportion of Chinese compared to Whites reported that they were very satisfied or satisfied with GP (73.7% vs. 92.8%) and specialist care (75.5% vs. 85.6%) and the differences between the two groups remained after adjustment for demographic variables and chronic conditions (risk adjusted OR: 0.70, 95%CI: 0.42-1.18 for the GP visit group and OR: 0.77, 95%CI: 0.48-1.23 for the specialist visit group). A similar proportion of Chinese and Whites reported that they always followed a physician's advice (59.4% vs. 59.6% for the GP visit group and 67.2% vs. 62.8% for the specialist visit group). Non-English speaking Chinese and recent arrivals in Canada were less likely to be satisfied with GPs than Chinese born in Canada [risk adjusted OR: 0.5, 95%CI: 0.3-0.9, 0.2 and 0.1-0.7, respectively].
Conclusion: Chinese Canadians reported lower satisfaction with physicians and perceived physicians slightly more negatively than White Canadians. Particularly, Chinese with limited English and short length of stay in Canada were less satisfied than Canadian born Chinese.