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Title: Factors influencing patient satisfaction in general practice
Author: Hussain, Sami M. M.
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1994
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Patient satisfaction in general practice has recently emerged as an important research topic as a result of two recent changes in the provision of health care: 1. the increasing need to measure the quality of care; 2. a greater realization of the influence of psychosocial factors in a large proportion of patient problems in general practice. Patient satisfaction in general practice is influenced by many factors. Some of these factors have a major impact, while others have a more indirect effect. In order to identify factors which influence patient satisfaction in general practice, the present investigation has developed three patient satisfaction studies, focusing on three important areas in general practice: o detection of psychosocial problems; o the presence of a computer in the consultation; o audit. Each of the studies has answered a number of specific questions: The first study found that detection of psychosocial problems in patients attending general practice was associated with high patient satisfaction (mean scores 30.9, sd 4.9), compared with those who were considered as normal by their GPs (mean 29.2, sd 4.9); the difference was highly significant between these two groups (p=0.0002). In the computer study no differences were found in overall satisfaction between baseline (mean 67.4, sd 8.6), six-week (mean 67.0, sd 9.3), and six-month follow-up (mean 65.7, sd 10.1). Regarding patients' attitudes to the presence of computer in the consultation room 22.6 % of patients considered it as a bad idea, but this fell to 14.4 % six weeks after, and 11.7% six months after its arrival. The findings of the audit study indicate that patient satisfaction is a useful tool in general practice. The initial phase of data collection identified deficiencies in most surgeries. The common deficiencies found were in continuity and availability. Some surgeries made changes immediately. Others used the results to obtain urgent extra resources. Some practices planned to make major changes before conducting this study and they have used the results to modify part of the changes already planned. Findings of more general interest revealed by these investigations are: 1. The specific areas of health care of most significance to patients in determining overall levels of satisfaction are: the doctor-patient relationship; continuity of care; availability of care; staff-patient relationships. 2. Age and sex are important determinants of patient satisfaction. Older and male patients were more satisfied. 3. Specificity is an important aspect in patient satisfaction studies, in order to identify dissatisfied groups of patients. For example, elderly patients were less satisfied with access. 4. A specific dichotomy question can be used to identify dissatisfied groups of patients e.g. patients with negative attitudes to the presence of a computer in the consultation room were dissatisfied with professional care and depth of relationship. 5. Qualitative as well as quantitative data are needed for a complete overall assessment of patient satisfaction, and can be used by practices. The true importance of the various factors influencing patient satisfaction will become apparent if steps can be taken to improve areas identified in this study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available