Patient perspective is important for quality assessment of service offered by hospitals and individual clinicians, evidenced by annual surveys required by the Care Quality Commission for all English NHS Acute Trusts. Patient satisfaction has been measured in consultations in Primary Care1. However as yet unanswered, is which aspects of consultations do patients value most, and whether this preference is dependent on patient type and mode of presentation. We used a tablet PC (Customer Research Technologies) or paper questionnaires for 106 respiratory outpatients (RO), 100 respiratory inpatients (RI, 38% male) and 102 urology inpatients (UI, 67% male) to answer 18 questions of the CSQ1 on 5 point categorical scales for how important they value aspects of the consultation (very important – not at all important) & how well that aspect was achieved (strongly agree – strongly disagree) in a teaching hospital over 10 weeks. Median (range) age was 68(26–91) years and 64 (20–90) years respectively and length of stay was 7 (1–93) and 4 (1–90) days respectively for RI and UI respectively.
Anonymised questionnaires on the tablet PC were completed in median (range) 264 (142–775) secs. Outcome score correlated with importance in for RI and UI (Pearson correlation coefficient, PCC, 0.90 and 0.81 respectively) but not for RO (PCC 0.56)
Questions were clustered into General satisfaction (3Q), Professional care (6Q), Depth of relationship (6Q) and Length of consultation (3Q) domains. Fig.1 shows for each domain and each patient type, percentage of total possible scores and importance evaluated. Scores for all three patient categories were higher for general satisfaction and professional care than for depth of relationship and length of consultation. Depth of relationship was regarded as least important by all three patient categories.
We conclude patients value clinicians checking questions with them and being told about their treatment most and suggest doctors place more emphasis on this and on depth of relationship with patients. New technology allows preferences to be ascertained and analysed rapidly and accurately in a time constrained health service.
Reference Kinnersley P et. al. (1996) A comparison of methods for measuring patient satisfaction with consultations in Primary Care, Family Practise, 13, 41–52.