The Measurement and Meaning of Patient Satisfaction

A Review of the Literature

by John E. Ware, Allyson Ross Davies, Anita Stewart


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Reviews 111 articles published between 1951 and 1976 reporting patient satisfaction with health care. The review had the following goals: (1) to define the concept of patient satisfaction and identify its major dimensions; (2) to evaluate the state of the art of measuring patient satisfaction, focusing particularly on reliability and validity of reported measures; and (3) to assess the usefulness of the patient satisfaction concept as an independent and dependent variable. The authors developed a taxonomy of patient satisfaction that defines the major characteristics of providers and services that influence patient satisfaction. This served as the basis for grouping results and as a standard to judge the comprehensiveness of a given questionnaire. The resulting taxonomy includes eight dimensions that constitute the major sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with care: art of care, technical quality of care, accessibility/convenience; finances, physical environment, availability, continuity, and outcomes of care.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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