Study hypothesis: Patient satisfaction with emergency department care is enhanced by information distributed to patients on ED arrival.
Participants and setting: A convenience sample of 200 alert, English-speaking, adult ED patients.
Design and intervention: ED information was distributed on alternate days to all ED patients. The ED information described ED function and patient evaluation time. Patients not receiving ED information served as controls. A research assistant administered a satisfaction questionnaire to all patients immediately after discharge.
Measurements and main results: Patients who received ED information rated their overall satisfaction higher than did the control group (P < .0001). Other items rated significantly higher were physician skill and competence (P = .0112), physician concern and caring (P = .0062), whether the patient would use the same ED again (P < .0001), appropriateness of ED time (P = .01), information received (P < .0001), ability of staff to decrease anxiety (P < .0001), physician's explanation of illness and treatment (P = .0366), and ease and convenience of care (P = .0014).
Conclusion: ED information has a significant effect on patients' perceptions of the quality of care and overall satisfaction.