Background: This study describes the relation between patient satisfaction with physician performance and seeing one's "own doctor" for a recent office visit.
Methods: A cross-sectional, randomized, computer-assisted telephone interview survey was performed at an urban health maintenance organization; 1146 responses were analyzed.
Results: Patients seeing their own physicians were significantly more satisfied than patients seeing another physician, even after controlling for effects of patient age, sex, reason for visit, clinic attended, satisfaction with appointment making, and interval between scheduling and making the visit. The interaction between getting one's choice of provider and seeing one's own physician was a significant predictor of satisfaction (P = 0.003). Among patients who got their choice of provider, seeing one's own physician had a more significant effect on satisfaction than seeing any other physician (P = 0.0009 compared with P = 0.04). Patients who did not receive their choice of provider but who did see their own physician had the highest satisfaction scores (P = 0.007).
Conclusion: To increase patient satisfaction with physician performance, health maintenance organizations should ensure that patients see their "own doctor" whenever possible for routine office visits.