Papanicolaou smear recommendations, patient complaints, and patient satisfaction in managed-care medical organizations

Med Care. 1995 Mar;33(3):272-9. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199503000-00006.


This study sought to determine whether primary-care physicians, practicing in different types of manage-care medical organizations, wer recommending Papanicolaou (Pap) smear screening to their patients. The author also wished to determine whether Pap smear recommendation rates correlated with characteristics of the organizations, with complaint rates, or with survey-based satisfaction measures. Randomly selected medical records (N = 10,978) were audited for women older than 18 years of age, insured by a single California health maintenance organization, who were being cared for by 81 medical organizations. It was determined whether women with an established primary-care physician were receiving recommendations for Pap smear testing within a 2-year period. Information on quality-related patient complaints from these organizations also was tabulated, and a telephone-based patient satisfaction survey on 1,700 members from the 46 largest organizations was performed. Overall, the study's Pap smear standard was met 83.2% of the time, with a range of 30% to 100% between organizations. Performance was unrelated to organization size, type, number of patients, percentage of board-certified physicians, or whether the organization permitted self-referral to an obstetrics/gynecology physician. Performance was also unrelated to complaint rates or survey measures of patient satisfaction. Performance was, however, positively correlated with the number of prepaid patients per primary care physician (r = 0.28, P = 0.01). Complaint rates and survey satisfaction measures were strongly correlated with each other (r = -0.48 and -0.57, P = 0.001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations* / organization & administration
  • Health Maintenance Organizations* / standards
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Papanicolaou Test*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Vaginal Smears / standards
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*