Revista Española de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1135-5727
RUIZ-MORAL, Roger et al. Patients´ satisfaction with communication with their family doctors: comparison of three methods for assessing unmet needs. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.85, n.3, pp.315-322. ISSN 1135-5727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1135-57272011000300010.
Background: Different aspects of the doctor-patient relationship were associated with satisfaction and other outcomes of the consultation. However, measurements of the perception of communication quality are often limited by the "ceiling effect". To evaluate the relationship and differences between three ways to obtain information regarding patient satisfaction and perception of unmet needs in communication aspects with your doctor. Methods: An observational descriptive study was design. Patient perception regarding four communicational domains when attending family doctors measured by means of three different type of questions. Results: Participation: 658 (91%) patients attending the consultation of 97 physicians in 58 Health Centres. 401 (62%) of them were females. Average age 52 years (TD:17,4; CI95%: 50,6-53,3 years), 401 females (62%: CI95%: 58,7-66,4%). In close ended questions, patients declared high rates of satisfaction for all the communicative domains studied: relationship 99,7% (CI95%: 98,8-99,9%), explaining reasons for consultation (CI95%: 94,4-97,7%), information regarding causes 96,2% (CI95%: 89,9- 94,3%), and therapeutic plan 97,9% (CI95%:96,7-99,1%). Patients declared as insatisfied gave high number of suggestions or showed more discrepancy of frequency (p<0.05); nevertheless, up to 28,9% of satisfied patients made suggestions for improving communication (p<0,001). Conclussions: Designing open-ended questions where patient can make suggestions, seems to be a good method for detecting unmet needs in doctor patient communication that close-ended question about satisfaction or those exploring possible discrepancy on the frequency of some behaviours.
Keywords : Patient satisfaction; Surveys; Physician-patient relations; Patient preference; Primary health care.