Objectives: We aimed to compare a new primary care outcome measure-the Patient Enablement Instrument (PEI)-against two established satisfaction measures [the Medical Interview Satisfaction Scale (MISS) and the Consultation Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ)]. Specifically, we sought (i) to test whether enablement and satisfaction are related or separate concepts; and (ii) to assess whether the internal consistency of the PEI might be enhanced by the inclusion of items from the satisfaction instruments.
Methods: Questionnaire forms containing the three instruments in a variety of combinations were distributed to a total of 818 patients attending for routine surgery consultations in three urban general practices of varying socio-economic mix. The main outcome measures were: scores on the PEI; scores on the CSQ, the MISS and their individual components; rank correlations between scores on the PEI and scores on the CSQ, the MISS and their component subscales; and Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the PEI.
Results: Overall mean scores, expressed as percentages of maximum scores attainable, were 44.1% for the PEI, 76.9% for the CSQ and 77.6% for the MISS. Rank correlations between PEI scores and scores for the complete CSQ and MISS instruments were 0.48 (P < 0.01) and 0.47 (P < 0.01), respectively. Correlations of PEI scores with individual component scores on the CSQ were generally lower and ranged from 0.14 to 0.53; correlations of PEI scored with MISS component scores were also generally lower and ranged from 0.21 to 0.53. Internal consistency of the PEI items (assessed by Cronbach's alpha coefficient) was lowered when items from the CSQ or MISS were added.
Conclusions: The study shows that 'enablement' is a primary care outcome measure which is related to but is different from general satisfaction.