Quality assessment efforts to enhance public accountability in dialysis care and to support provider efforts to improve care have lacked patient input. To develop brief patient evaluation or satisfaction surveys suitable for busy clinical settings, knowing patients' priorities can be helpful in deciding which aspects of care should be tracked. We conducted a study to identify salient attributes of dialysis care and to rank the importance of these attributes from the perspective of dialysis patients. We analyzed the content of patient focus group transcripts to characterize dialysis care from the patients' perspective. We then surveyed 86 patients to determine how patients would rank the importance of each aspect to quality of dialysis care. The 18 broad aspects of care identified in the focus group included: (1) care provided by nephrologists, (2) care provided by other physicians (nonnephrologists), (3) care provided by dialysis center nurses, (4) care provided by social workers and psychologists, (5) care provided by dieticians, (6) clergy, (7) care provided by technicians and physician assistants/nurse practitioners, (8) care provided by dialysis center staff in general, (9) supplies, (10) treatment choice and effectiveness, (11) patient education and training, (12) self-care, (13) dialysis machines, (14) unit environment and policies, (15) cost containment, (16) billing, (17) cost of care, and (18) health outcomes. Items ranked in the top 10 by both groups of patients included issues related to nephrologists, other doctors, nurses, and patient education and training. Compared with hemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients gave higher ratings to hospital doctors' and nurses' attention to cleanliness when working with access sites, how correct the nephrologist's instructions to patients are, whether emergency room doctors check with nephrologists, the amount of information patients get about their diet, and how well nurses answer patients' questions. Patients value certain aspects of dialysis care highly, and these aspects differed in some respects for the relatively small number of hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients studied. Construction of brief questionnaires for quality assessment and assurance requires thoughtful consideration of what questions to include. Knowing patients' priorities regarding the most important aspects of care that have high potential for dissatisfaction may be helpful to continuous quality improvement of end-stage renal disease care.