Objective: To examine the relation of patient characteristics and site of care to the perception of ambulatory care quality by persons with AIDS (PWAs).
Design: Patient surveys and medical record review were used to determine PWAs' perceptions of their ambulatory care, self-perceived health status, primary care relationships, sociodemographic characteristics, and severity of illness.
Setting: A public-hospital HIV clinic, an academic group practice, and a staff-model health maintenance organization (HMO) that together care for 20% of all Massachusetts PWAs.
Patients: All active patients as of February 12, 1990, and all new AIDS patients at each of the three sites during the subsequent 13 months.
Measurements and main results: The primary outcome measure was a six-item scale of patient-rated quality of care (PRQC), a newly developed measure that combined patients' ratings of their physician care, nursing care, involvement in medical decisions, and overall quality of care. Multiple logistic regression was carried out with low PRQC (lowest quartile) as the dependent variable, to identify correlates of patient perceptions of poor quality. Patients who had a primary nurse were significantly less likely to have low PRQC scores (OR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.26 to 0.97). Black patients and patients who used injection drugs were significantly more likely to rate their care in the lowest quartile (OR = 2.22, 95% CI = 1.04 to 4.78; and OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.13 to 5.23, respectively), as were those who had lower self-perceived health status, after controlling for confounders; no association was found by site or severity.
Conclusions: These results show that primary nursing may be an important determinant of how PWAs rate the quality of their ambulatory care. Furthermore, PWAs who are black or who are injection drug users are less satisfied than are others with the quality of their ambulatory AIDS care.