Objective: To determine the attitudes of patients regarding the process and result of chiropractic care and to identify patient characteristics which might predict satisfaction.
Design: Mailed survey consisting of a patient satisfaction questionnaire composed of 32 attitude statements accompanied by a five-point Likert scale, a personal information questionnaire and a doctor questionnaire providing clinical information about the patient.
Setting: Nonrandom sample of chiropractic doctors engaged in private practice.
Patients: Survey questionnaires were mailed to 541 new and returning chiropractic patients seeking care between June 1988 and August 1989, with a response rate of 69.5% (n = 376).
Results: Survey items were organized into scales and subscales from which response means were calculated reflecting attitudes about specific dimensions of care. Women responding to the survey were slightly more satisfied with the care they received than men, but other patient characteristics did not influence response means for questions referring to general satisfaction. Patients were most satisfied with the accessibility of their doctors and least satisfied with the financial aspects of treatment--especially those who reported lower incomes and no insurance coverage. Finally, among a variety of factors which might influence patient satisfaction, we found that the patient's perception of treatment outcome was the most important predictive variable. A slightly greater degree of dissatisfaction was reported by a small percentage (12%) of patients who also reported that there was either no improvement in their health problem, or minimal improvement, following chiropractic care.
Conclusions: Patients expressed high levels of satisfaction with their doctors and the care they received. Although women were slightly more satisfied than men, other patient characteristics such as level of education, income, employment status or previous chiropractic care did not influence response means. Future research is needed to determine if the way in which chiropractic care is rendered affects patient satisfaction.