A brief instrument to measure patients' overall satisfaction with primary care physicians

Fam Med. 2011 Jun;43(6):412-7.


Background and objectives: A brief and psychometrically sound scale to measure patients' overall satisfaction with their primary care physicians would be useful in studies where a longer instrument is impractical. The purpose of this study was to develop and examine the psychometrics of a brief instrument to measure patients' overall satisfaction with their primary care physicians.

Methods: Research participants included 535 outpatients (between 18--75 years old, 66% female) who completed a mailed survey that included 10 items for measuring overall satisfaction with their primary care physician who was named on the survey. Patients were also asked about their perceptions of physician empathy, preventive tests recommended by the physician (colonoscopy, mammogram, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for age and gender appropriate patients) and demographic information.

Results: Factor analysis of the patient satisfaction items resulted in one prominent component. Corrected item-total score correlations of the patient satisfaction scale ranged from 0.85 to 0.96; correlation between patient satisfaction scores and patient perception of physician empathy was 0.93, and correlation with recommending the physician to family and friends was 0.92. Criterion-related validity coefficients were mostly in the 0.80s and 0.90s. Patient satisfaction scores were significantly higher for those whose physicians recommended preventive tests (colonoscopy, mammogram, and PSA-compliance rates >.80). Cronbach's coefficient alpha for patient satisfaction scale was 0.98.

Conclusions: Empirical evidence supported the validity and reliability of a brief patient satisfaction scale that has utility in the assessments of educational programs aimed at improving patient satisfaction, medical services, and patient outcomes in primary care settings.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Competence
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Perception
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Primary Care*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult