Outpatient Satisfaction

The Role of Nominal Versus Perceived Communication

Published In: Health Services Research, v. 44, no. 5, pt. 1, Oct. 2009, p. 1735-1749

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by Megan K. Beckett, Marc N. Elliott, Andrea Richardson, Rita Mangione-Smith

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the simultaneous associations of parent and coder assessments of communication events with parent satisfaction. STUDY SETTING: Five hundred twenty-two pediatrician-patient encounters. STUDY DESIGN: Parents reported on post-visit satisfaction with care and whether four communication events occurred. Raters also coded communication events from videotapes. Multivariate analyses predicted parent satisfaction. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Satisfaction was greater when parents perceived at least three communication events. Parent and coder reports were nearly uncorrelated. Coder-assessed communication events not perceived by parents were unrelated to parent satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: Parents are more satisfied when most or all of the expected parent-physician communications occur. A successful pediatrician-parent communication event is one that a parent recognizes as having occurred; it is not merely one that a trained observer says occurred.

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