Measuring patient satisfaction in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. What factors play a role?

Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2022 Jan 18;21(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s12991-022-00379-1.


Introduction: Patient satisfaction is defined as the perception that one's general health care needs are being met. Prior research suggests that positive patient satisfaction with health care facilitates the physician-patient relationship and enhances quality of life.

Objective: The primary purpose of this study was to assess patient satisfaction (as measured by the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ-18)) of patients observed by general psychiatry residents and to examine the effects of depression and anxiety on patient satisfaction. A secondary purpose was to explore the effects of three 1-h mentalization-based skills training sessions on the PSQ-18 scores of psychiatric residents. We hypothesized that depressive and anxiety symptoms would negatively impact patient satisfaction. We hypothesized that patients' satisfaction scores would improve after mentalization training.

Methods: This was a prospective case-controlled study, enrolling adult patients (n = 157) referred for psychiatric assessment in a psychiatric resident outpatient clinic. The primary outcome was patient satisfaction as measured by the PSQ-18. This outcome was compared to anxiety and depression symptoms as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item scale (GAD-7) questionnaires. Outcome data from the PSQ-18 were compared among residents before and after they completed mentalization training. The data were analyzed with univariate analyses and multiple linear regression.

Results: Overall the patients were satisfied with clinician communication and interpersonal manner (4.21 ± 0.66 and 4.15 ± 0.69, respectively). The patients score on PHQ-9 was inversely related to their scores on time spent (TS) (p = 0.01) and accessibility/convenience (AC) (p = 0.0009) subscales of the PSQ-18. GAD-7 score was inversely related to patients scores on AC subscale (p = 0.01). Brief mentalization training for the providers did not impact patient satisfaction scores.

Conclusions: Our study reveals that depression and anxiety can negatively impact PSQ-18 patient scoring in psychiatric outpatients observed for the first time in a resident clinic. However, this study failed to show that a brief mentalization-based training could improve patient satisfaction scores that were already quite high at baseline.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Mentalization; Patient satisfaction; Psychiatry; Resident clinic.