Older patients' health status and satisfaction with medical care in an HMO population

Med Care. 1990 Mar;28(3):261-70. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199003000-00006.


Few studies have examined the relationship between older patients' satisfaction with medical care and their health status, and none of these investigations has been based at an HMO. To examine this question, data on 532 patients older than 70 years in an HMO were analyzed. Patients' reports of satisfaction with medical care were examined in relation to several dimensions of health status (based on self-reports, chart data, and physicians' ratings), their own sociodemographic characteristics, and characteristics of their primary physicians. Greater satisfaction was significantly associated with better self-rated health and physical function, less emotional distress, and more social activity but was not related to physicians' health ratings, number of diagnoses, or cognitive function. Mean levels of satisfaction were also significantly different for patients of different physicians but not appreciably related to patients' sociodemographic characteristics. When patient sociodemographic characteristics were controlled for, the relations of health status variables to satisfaction were essentially unchanged. It was concluded that the key issues to be resolved are whether better health leads to greater satisfaction or vice versa, and, in either case, whether the relations are mediated by factors relating to the patient's experience of medical care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / standards*
  • Health Services for the Aged / standards*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Rhode Island