Emergency department satisfaction: what matters most?

Ann Emerg Med. 1993 Mar;22(3):586-91. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(05)81947-x.


Study objective: To determine the relative importance of variables correlated with patient satisfaction with emergency department care and service.

Design: Retrospective telephone survey targeting all patients who visited the Panorama City Kaiser Permanente ED from April 4 to April 17, 1991. Patients were contacted within one week of their discharge from the ED or hospital.

Participants: Two hundred fifty-eight ED patients completed telephone surveys. Fifty-one percent of the respondents were male, and the mean age was 53 years. The majority of the respondents were white (70%); the most common service received was medical (82%).

Measurements and results: Of the 14 variables that were found to be correlated with overall ED satisfaction, a multiple regression analysis revealed that the five most important variables were patient satisfaction with the amount of time it took before being cared for in the ED; patients' ratings of how caring the nurses were, how organized the ED staff was, and how caring the physicians were; and patient satisfaction with the amount of information the nurses gave them about what was happening to them.

Conclusion: The total time patients spend in the ED and patients' perceptions of their wait time for an ED bed are not as important to patient satisfaction as is receiving prompt and caring service. The above service variables are key areas that may be targeted to improve ED services.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • California
  • Child
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors