Patient Satisfaction Influences Health Outcomes

Abstract

Patient satisfaction is a direct measure of care quality that offers an insight into a variety of clinical aspects ranging from care effectiveness to the level of empathy. Dissatisfaction with care usually leads to a drop in the level of patients’ trust in their healthcare providers, which also adversely influences the quality of their relationships. When considering the connections between satisfaction and patient outcomes, a scholar should measure the impact of psychological health outcomes, socioeconomic status, place of residence, and insurance coverage. Future studies on the topic are suggested to use a mixed-methods approach.

Introduction

The quality of health care services offered to patients is a metric that medical facilities take into consideration regularly. Within this context, patient satisfaction rates refer to the extent to which individuals are happy with their healthcare when attending medical facilities. As suggested by Chen et al. (2018), associations between patient-reported outcomes and patient satisfaction provide a unified look at the state of care in a specific care facility. For example, Shan et al. (2016) found that patient satisfaction rates were positively associated with high levels of trust in the expertise of doctors and nurses as well as positive environments within healthcare settings. Therefore, patient satisfaction is a multi-dimensional metric that shows healthcare providers whether they have been able to offer the desired degree of care to their patients within various settings. Thus, studying connections between patient satisfaction and patient health outcomes will reveal the gaps in care and point to the methods of their improvement.

Research Question

With the growing demand for measuring patient satisfaction rates at facilities, it is important to determine the connections that exist between the metric and final patient outcomes. The improvement of care quality for all patients regardless of race, gender, social and ethnic background, and financial status represent a critical problem. It is essential to ensure consistency in the quality of care to reach the desired rates of satisfaction and ensure that final patient outcomes improve. Thus, the current research question refers to determining the existence of connections between patient satisfaction rates and final health outcomes.

Hypothesis

It is hypothesized that the quality of services doctors and nurses provide has a direct impact on patient satisfaction as related to factors contributing to health improvement. Thus, for ensuring that patients’ health is maintained on a high level, medical personnel should integrate effective solutions for improving overall outcomes. During the research, it is expected to find connections between care satisfaction and patient outcomes in a diverse group of individuals. Based on previous studies on this topic, patients with low socioeconomic status may be more to dissatisfaction with the provided care quality. In addition, such aspects as trust and positive relationships between patients and their doctors are also expected to influence patient-related outcomes.

Literature Review

To provide theoretical groundwork for future study, it is essential to look at previous research in this area. To improve care quality at healthcare facilities, scholars have proposed using patient satisfaction as a tool toward reaching better health outcomes. According to the study Al-Abri and Al-Balushi (2014), hospitals should integrate effective and coherent standardized tools to measure the satisfaction of their patients to get a better understanding of the processes that they need to improve. This shows an opportunity for hospital managers to make changes within their setting to ensure that patient satisfaction rates increase. Healthcare providers should recognize the value of feedback information acquired through patient satisfaction measurement.

Measures to boost patient satisfaction were explored by Banka et al. (2015) explored the influence of physician education, incentives, and feedback. The study is notable for the current exploration because of its focus on developing solutions that are necessary for increasing patient outcomes and satisfaction with healthcare services. The authors proposed to hold educational conferences to inform doctors and nurses of strategies they can implement to increase patient satisfaction rates. Other topics to include during educational sessions with practitioners may include monthly recognition, incentives for improving patient satisfaction scores, and real-time individualized patient satisfaction scores. After being trained on desired methods for boosting patient satisfaction, practitioners managed to contribute to an increase in the percentage of patients who positively responded to the physician-related assessment of healthcare providers and systems. Apart from showing a connection between patient satisfaction and patient-related outcomes, Banka et al. (2015) underlined the importance of informing and training medical personnel to ensure that patients receive the appropriate level of care.

Aiken et al. (2018) conducted an observational study focusing on patient satisfaction with care at hospitals and nurses’ services within the English setting. Most notably, the research was the first to look at patient satisfaction through the lens of quantitative analysis. Main measures of outcome included patient measurements of their hospital care as well as the confidence in services provided by their doctors and nurses. Missed nursing care was evaluated both as an outcome measure and an explanatory factor in the study (Aiken et al., 2018). It is essential to mention that the perceptions of patients regarding their care were largely affected by the lack of confidence in doctors and nurses who treated them as well as by rising occurrence in missed care. Thus, the researchers concluded that patients’ positive perceptions and satisfaction with hospital care were strongly linked to cases of missed care. The outcome was then connected to poor nursing staffing and inadequate work environments. The lack of attention to the needs of nurses within professional settings, thus adversely affects the effectiveness of care provided to patients and decreases overall health outcomes.

Thornton et al. (2017) explored the range of factors that influenced patient satisfaction at healthcare facilities through a semi-quantitative lens. Their analysis is relevant to the current exploration because hospitals should have a better understanding of why their patients may not agree with the quality of care provided to them. The most important revelation of Thornton et al.’s (2017) study is the association between the socio-economic background of patients and their satisfaction with care quality. It was shown that those living in urban areas with excellent access to healthcare services were more satisfied with hospital care. On the contrary, patients receiving care in rural areas showed lower rates of satisfaction. The findings suggest that healthcare providers should work towards eliminating gaps in services across all settings. A specific focus must be placed on ensuring equality in care provision.

Direct associations between patient satisfaction and patient outcomes were reported by Chen et al. (2018) in their research. Similar to Thortnton et al. (2017) who found that individuals from rural and low-income backgrounds were more likely to show dissatisfaction with their care, Chen et al. (2018) found a correlation between socioeconomic status and care satisfaction. As mentioned by the authors “patients who were younger, male, black/African American, with Medicaid insurance, as well as patients with lower socioeconomic status were more likely to report little satisfaction with their care. Physical health scores were not shown to contribute to reduced satisfaction rates among study participants.

Although, patients with low scores of mental health reported greater dissatisfaction with the quality of care when visiting the emergency department. The findings show that it is essential to consider factors that can undermine satisfaction rates, such as patients’ ethnic background, income level, or insurance coverage (Chen et al., 2018). Uninsured patients of non-white background have more potential to be dissatisfied with their provision of care due to the lack of resources available to them in general. It must be mentioned that patient satisfaction is a complicated metric that is influenced by a variety of factors, some of which are independent and unmodifiable variables, including patient-level characteristics. Analyzing these findings, opportunities for research on patient satisfaction and their health outcomes are vast when considering factors that contribute to either increases or decreases in the quality of care and overall patient health.

Conclusion

The exploration of the literature on patient satisfaction and its influence on health outcomes revealed that the issue is multi-dimensional and should be approached from several perspectives. When considering the connections between the two variables, a researcher should consider the impact of psychological health outcomes, socioeconomic status, place of residence, and insurance coverage. It is possible to study the topic using a mixed-methods approach. First, a researcher may start with evaluating patient satisfaction through qualitative interviews and thematically analyzing them. Then, information on patient outcomes with the help of hospital records may be collected. The research represents an essential contribution to the exploration of patient satisfaction metrics in healthcare settings.

References

Aiken, L., Sloane, D., Ball, J., Bruhneel, L., Rafferty, A., & Griffiths, P. (2018). Patient satisfaction with hospital care and nurses in England: An observational study. BMJ Open, 8, 1-8.

Al-Abri, R., & Al-Balushi, A. (2014). Patient satisfaction survey as a tool towards quality improvement. Oman Medical Journal, 29(1), 3-7.

Banka, G., Edgington, S., Kyulo, N., Padilla, T., Mosley, V., Afsarmanesh, N., … Ong, M. (2015). Improving patient satisfaction through physician education, feedback and incentives. Journal of Hospital Medicine, 10(8), 497-502.

Chen, Q., Beal, E., Okunrintemi, V., Cerier, E., Paredes, A., Sun., S., … Pawlik, T. (2018). The association between patient satisfaction and patient-reported health outcomes. Journal of Patient Experience, 2018, 1-9.

Shan, L., Li, Y., Ding, D., Wu, Q., Liu, C., Jiao, M., … Ren, J. (2016). Patient satisfaction with hospital inpatient care: Effects of trust, medical insurance and perceived quality of care. PLoS ONE, 11(10), 1-18.

Thornton, R. D., Nurse, N., Snavely, L., Hackett-Zahler, S., Frank, K., & DiTomasso, R. A. (2017). Influences on patient satisfaction in healthcare centers: A semi-quantitative study over 5 years. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 361.