Measuring Quality of Care with Patient Satisfaction Scores

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016 Oct 5;98(19):e83. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.15.01216.


Quality of care is a multidimensional concept encompassing safety, efficiency, outcomes, and the patient experience. Traditional quality metrics, such as mortality rates, complication rates, and patient-reported outcomes, are time-consuming and cost-consuming to obtain and risk-stratify. The implications of reimbursement related to patient satisfaction and the ease of data collection have contributed to the perception that satisfaction is a global indicator of health-care quality; however, high satisfaction scores are not consistently correlated with traditional outcome and safety indicators. Higher patient satisfaction may be associated with increased costs of care. Costs may be further increased by the implementation of the satisfaction surveys themselves, which can increase imaging studies and prescriptions. Therefore, satisfaction surveys are not appropriate measures of overall quality of care. Accurate assessment of quality requires a multidimensional approach that includes specific measures for each domain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Health Care*