U.S. Patients Highly Satisfied With Outpatient Medical Care

Patient satisfaction scores tied to waiting time, time spent with provider, and age category

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Patients in the United States are, in general, highly satisfied with their outpatient medical care, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in Health Outcomes Research in Medicine.

Ali Bonakdar Tehrani, Pharm.D., from the Rollins School Of Public Health in Atlanta, and colleagues investigated patients' satisfaction with outpatient medical care. Data were obtained using a validated online patient satisfaction survey, for 14,984 patient visits. Demographics of the sample population were compared with the demographics of patients seeing U.S. physicians, using data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. To ensure representative scoring, the analysis was confined to data on doctors with 10 or more ratings within 2004 to 2010. A zero to 10 scale was used to score patients' overall satisfaction with their physicians, with 10 being the best and zero the worst. Waiting times, the amount of time the doctor spent with them, and their satisfaction with various aspects of the medical visit experience were reported by the patients.

The investigators found that the average overall patient satisfaction rating was 9.28. A total of 70.1 percent of the ratings were 10s and 15.3 percent were 9s; whereas ratings of 0 or 1 comprised less than 2 percent of the ratings. Patient satisfaction scores were significantly correlated with waiting time, time spent with the provider, and age category.

"The great majority of patients reporting their satisfaction online are highly satisfied with their outpatient medical care," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Medical Quality Enhancement Corporation LLC, which developed the DrScore survey used in the study.

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