Outpatient satisfaction: the role of nominal versus perceived communication

Health Serv Res. 2009 Oct;44(5 Pt 1):1735-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.01001.x. Epub 2009 Jul 27.


Objective: To examine the simultaneous associations of parent and coder assessments of communication events with parent satisfaction.

Study setting: Five hundred twenty-two pediatrician-patient encounters.

Study design: Parents reported on post-visit satisfaction with care and whether four communication events occurred. Raters also coded communication events from videotapes. Multivariate analyses predicted parent satisfaction.

Principal findings: Satisfaction was greater when parents perceived at least three communication events. Parent and coder reports were nearly uncorrelated. Coder-assessed communication events not perceived by parents were unrelated to parent satisfaction.

Conclusions: Parents are more satisfied when most or all of the expected parent-physician communications occur. A successful pediatrician-parent communication event is one that a parent recognizes as having occurred; it is not merely one that a trained observer says occurred.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Office Visits
  • Parents*
  • Perception*
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Socioeconomic Factors