The Relationships Between Patient Experience and Quality and Utilization of Primary Care Services

J Patient Exp. 2020 Dec;7(6):1678-1684. doi: 10.1177/2374373520924190. Epub 2020 May 26.


We lack knowledge on how patient-reported experience relates to both quality of care services and visit attendance in the primary care setting. Therefore, in a cross-sectional analysis of 8355 primary care patients from 22 primary care practices, we examined the associations between visit-triggered patient-reported experience measures and both (1) quality of care measures and (2) number of missed primary care appointment (no shows). Our independent variables included both overall patient experience and its subdomains. Our outcomes included the following measures: smoking cessation discussion, diabetes eye examination referral, mammography, colonoscopy screening, current smoking status (nonsmoker vs smoker), diabetes control Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c [<8]), blood pressure control, cholesterol control Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) among patients with diabetes (LDL < 100), and visit no shows 2 and 5 years after the index visit that triggered the completed patient-experience survey. We found that patient experience, while an important stand-alone metric of care quality, may not relate to clinical outcomes or process measures in the outpatient setting. However, patient-reported experiences with their primary care provider appear to influence their future visit attendance.

Keywords: doctor–patient relationship; patient experience; patient-centered care; primary care redesign; quality improvement.