Physician conduct and other factors that affect consumer satisfaction with medical care

by John E. Ware, Barbara J. Doyle

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Major dimensions of consumer perceptions regarding physicians and medical care services were identified using factor analysis of survey data, as follows: accessibility, availability of family doctors, availability of hospitals/specialists, completeness of facilities, continuity of care, and physician conduct (perceived quality and art of care). Scores for these dimensions and multiple linear regression methods were used to predict general satisfaction ratings for a cross-section of adults for groups differing in age, education, health status, and sex. Perceptions regarding physician conduct were clearly the best predictors of general satisfaction with care for the total sample and for all groups studied. Other factors also were important, suggesting that more than one interpretation of general satisfaction scores should always be considered when consumer satisfaction surveys are interpreted. Improvements in the conduct of physicians in dealing with their patients, even without altering the structure or organization of medical care, are likely to increase consumer satisfaction.

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