Introduction. Patient satisfaction surveys are still popular tools for obtaining feedback on the quality of health care. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of data to indicate whether health care providers even want patients to assess the quality of care delivered. Neither it is certain whether patients are interested in participating in such surveys.
Aim. To present and compare the perspectives of doctors, nurses, and patients on the validity of health care customer satisfaction surveys.
Material and methods. A cross-sectional survey design was used. The questionnaires were administered to doctors, nurses and patients in three hospitals of different sizes (small, medium, and large), all in the north-east of Poland. Each sample group was given 200 questionnaires; responses were received from 95 doctors (47.5%), 190 nurses (95%), and 182 patients (91%), and included in the final analyses.
Results. Most respondents (doctors - 64.2%; nurses - 61.6%; patients - 87.4%) answered ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Do you think that patients should evaluate the quality of health care?’ Analysis of data allowed to identify the following main reasons why patients should evaluate the quality of health care: 1. to enhance the quality of care; 2. to recognise patients as evaluators; 3. to motivate providers to work more efficiently; and 4. to emphasise the impact of evaluation on a core value, i.e. health. Doctors and nurses outlined reasons why they did not advocate conducting patient satisfaction surveys: satisfaction surveys are redundant; negative evaluations; unwillingness to be evaluated by patients; satisfaction surveys hamper effective work with patients; surveys are not objective; survey results are not communicated to providers.
Conclusions. Patient satisfaction surveys are desirable tools for evaluating the quality of health care delivery despite the fact that they frequently raise concerns amongst providers and patients. There is, therefore, a definite need for providers to experience the benefits of measuring patient satisfaction. Another important practical implication is that patients need to be convinced that their opinions do matter and contribute to improving the quality of services.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.