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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 326-331  

Patient satisfaction at a primary level health-care facility in a district of West Bengal: Are our patients really satisfied?


1 Department of Community Medicine, Midnapore Medical College and Hospital, Midnapore, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, IPGMER and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication2-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
Mausumi Basu
Department of Community Medicine, IPGMER and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/MJDRDYPU.MJDRDYPU_177_17

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  Abstract 


Introduction: Many recent studies have shown an increased association between patient's satisfaction levels, patient's compliance, and success of treatment. Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the level of satisfaction among patients who have utilized the outpatient department services provided in the primary care level health institution. Materials and Methods: A health center-based observational cross-sectional study was conducted from July 2011 to October 2011 at Guskara Primary health center, Burdwan among 422 patients using a pre-designed pre-tested structured schedule. Results: Overall, mean satisfaction score was 2.97 ± 0.37. Highest satisfaction scores were observed among 18–20 years, males were more satisfied regarding technical quality of care, whereas females reported higher satisfaction regarding interpersonal manner, unmarried/single group reported the highest satisfaction with most of the services, literate group reported higher satisfaction than the illiterate group, affluent patients reported higher satisfaction regarding technical quality of care, financial aspect. Conclusions: Causes of dissatisfaction were long waiting time, the inadequacy of seating arrangement in the waiting area, inadequate cleanliness of surroundings, inadequate toilet facilities, nonavailability of medicines, and behavior of doctor.

Keywords: Causes of dissatisfaction, patient satisfaction, primary care level


How to cite this article:
Bhattacharya A, Chatterjee S, De A, Majumder S, Chowdhury KB, Basu M. Patient satisfaction at a primary level health-care facility in a district of West Bengal: Are our patients really satisfied?. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2018;11:326-31

How to cite this URL:
Bhattacharya A, Chatterjee S, De A, Majumder S, Chowdhury KB, Basu M. Patient satisfaction at a primary level health-care facility in a district of West Bengal: Are our patients really satisfied?. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Jul 17];11:326-31. Available from: http://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2018/11/4/326/238164




  Introduction Top


The outcome of any disease is influenced by the decisions to seek care, timely arrival at appropriate diagnostic and treatment services and receipt of adequate quality care from service providers.[1] The quality care in health means an inexpensive type of service with minimum side effects that can cure or relieve the health problems of the patients.[2]

“Patient satisfaction” can be defined as “proportion/levels of patient's expectations fulfilled in regard to health-care services.” Recent studies have shown an increased association between quality care, patient's satisfaction levels, patient's compliance, and success of treatment.[3] Therefore, a research on patient satisfaction can be an important tool to improve the quality of services.[4]

Patient satisfaction is not only an important, effective and commonly used indicator for measuring the quality in health care but also measures the success of doctors and hospitals. As patient satisfaction affects clinical outcomes, patient retention, medical malpractice claims, and also affects the timely, efficient, and patient-centered delivery of quality health care.[5]

For a health-care organization to be successful, monitoring customer's perception is a simple but important strategy to assess and improve the organization's performance.[6],[7] The sense of growing gap between what patients want and what practitioners perceive as important results in dissatisfaction of patients with health-care systems. Over a lifetime, patient's expectations of health care may change dramatically. Health-care consumers today, are more sophisticated than in the past and now demand increasingly more accurate and valid evidence of health plan quality.[1]

Some patients may place more emphasis on technical competence whereas others, on fulfilment of personal needs, comfort, dignity, and supportive services.

With this background, this study was conducted to assess the level of satisfaction among patients who have utilized the outpatient department (OPD.) services provided in the primary care level health institution and to determine the relationship between some sociodemographic factors and the level of satisfaction (if any).


  Materials and Methods Top


This was a health center-based observational study, cross-sectional in design, duration of study being 3 months, from July 2011 to October 2011 done at primary level health-care facility at Guskara primary health center, Guskara, Burdwan was chosen purposively for the study.

Guskara primary health centera

This is a 10-bedded primary health care facility under Block Ausgram I, District Burdwan and caters to a population of around 28,000, has a general OPD, DOTS clinic and immunization clinic. It is well connected by railways, highway and is 32 km from Burdwan town.

New adult patients (18 years and above) of both sex, attending OPD and gave informed written consent constituted our study population.

Seriously ill patients who were unable to participate in the interview, patients who were deaf or mute or both, follow-up patients who worked in the same hospital or their relatives and unwilling patients were excluded from the study.

Sampling:

  1. Sample size: Sample size was determined using the following formula.[1]


N = Z 2 pq/e 2

N = estimated sample size

Z = 1.96 at 95% Confidence Limit

p = Prevalence of patient satisfaction

q = 1 − p

e = absolute allowable error

For this study, maximum variability was assumed,

P = 0.5

q = 0.5

e = 5%

Hence, the sample size was calculated to be 384.

Sampling technique was nonrandomized purposive.

Nearly 10% of the estimated sample size was added for incomplete answers, making the estimated sample size to be 422.

Selection of patient – the patients attending the OPD of that health-care facility were selected for the interview by systematic random sampling. Depending on the previous attendance of the particular health facility, a random number was chosen and every 4th patient was selected for the interview. This process was continued until the required sample size was completed.

While selecting patients, it was observed from previous records that average number of new patients attending the OPD at Guskara PHC was around 100/day. Two months were available for data collection. Two days in a week were utilized for data collection (total 17 days in 2 months), and a total number of patients required to be interviewed at the primary level were 422. Hence, per day 25 patients (in average) were interviewed.

In the OPD, the first patient fulfilling the inclusion criteria was identified, and then, every 4th patient (who fulfilled the inclusion criteria) was selected systematically. The patients were interviewed maintaining privacy and requested not to divulge any information to others. Information was elicited by exit interview of patients and review of records (OPD tickets) and information regarding the following variables were obtained: age, sex, education, occupation, socioeconomic status, type of family, religion, marital status, residence, and caste.

A predesigned and pretested interview schedule was used to record information. The initial part of the schedule (Part A) was used to record information on the various socio-demographic characteristics of the patients. Part B of the schedule recorded information on patient's satisfaction. The questions of the schedule were adopted from the short form patient satisfaction questionnaire 18[8] and the third part of schedule recorded the areas and causes of patient dissatisfaction.

Some questions were modified after pre-testing and were validated by experts.

Permission to conduct the study was obtained from the Institutional Review Board, Burdwan Medical College and from the Chief Medical Officer of Health District Burdwan.

Informed written consent was obtained from all patients before the interview after telling them the objective of this study, approximate time that would be required for interview and assuring the confidentiality and anonymity of their identity. On the days of data collection, the treating medical officer was kept unaware of the questions in the schedule to avoid bias in his/her behavior with the patient.

Data were entered into Microsoft Excel sheet, checked for accuracy, and analyzed using the software Epi Info version 6 (CDC; Centers for Disease Control;1990 Atlanta, Georgia (US)) and Microsoft excel, proportions, unpaired t-test, mean, standard deviation, and one-way ANOVA was computed using SPSS version 17.0 (SPSS Inc. Released 2008, Chicago).


  Results Top


Patients belonging to 21–30 years age group were found in highest numbers while the percentage of patients above 60 years of age was the least, male patients were more in number than females, higher percentage of patients were from rural area, the highest percentage of patients among Hindu belonged to the general category and maximum proportion of patients were married, while the least percentage belonged to the widowed/separated/divorced category, homemakers contributed to the highest percentage. According to educational status, illiterates were in highest proportions, patients belonging to Grade IV socioeconomic status were highest in number and highest percentage of patients were from joint family.

Overall, mean satisfaction score at primary health-care facility was calculated to be 2.97 ± 0.37.

The highest mean satisfaction score was found regarding interpersonal manner while least satisfaction was observed regarding financial aspect [Table 1].
Table 1: Patient satisfaction scores according to subscales of satisfaction at primary level health-care facility (n=422)

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Patient satisfaction and age

The highest satisfaction scores were observed among the age group of 18–20 years as compared to the other age groups [Table 2].
Table 2: Sub-scales of satisfaction and association with age and gender (n=422)

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Patient satisfaction and sex

Males were more satisfied regarding technical quality of care, financial aspect, and time spent with doctor, whereas females reported higher satisfaction regarding the interpersonal manner, communication and accessibility and convenience [Table 2].

Patient satisfaction and marital status

The unmarried/single group reported the highest satisfaction with most of the services as compared to the others, whereas the widowed group reported lowest satisfaction scores. The married group were most satisfied group as far as time spent with doctor was concerned [Table 3].
Table 3: Sub-scales of satisfaction and association with various sociodemographic variables (n=422)

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Patient satisfaction and literacy status

The literate group reported higher satisfaction than the illiterate group of patients [Table 3].

Patient satisfaction and socioeconomic status

Affluent patients reported higher satisfaction regarding technical quality of care, financial aspect while the less affluent groups reported higher satisfaction regarding the interpersonal manner, communication and accessibility and convenience [Table 3].

Causes of dissatisfaction

The primary areas of complain of patients in descending order were as follows: long waiting time (97.6%), lack of adequate drinking water in the waiting area (87.2%), inadequate toilet facilities (82.5%), inadequacy of seating arrangement in the waiting area (79.1%), inadequate privacy (65.7%), nonavailability of medicines and investigations in hospital (53.5%) l, inadequate cleanliness of surroundings (39.8%), inadequate ventilation and fans in the waiting hall (21.8%), behavior of doctor (6.6%), and lack of proper signboards/direction guides (6.2%) [Table 4].
Table 4: Areas and causes of patient dissatisfaction at primary level of health care facility (n=422)

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  Discussion Top


The present study was attempted to assess the level of satisfaction of the patients with the various aspects of healthcare at a primary level health-care facility of Burdwan district. Very few similar studies have been done in India and abroad, and therefore, we lack the data for comparison.

The sociodemographic profile showed the importance of hospital, as the majority of the respondents were in the age group of 21–30 years which is economically productive age group for the families belonging to underserved, needy section of the society. Most of them were illiterate, home makers and belonged to Grade IV socioeconomic status. This weaker section is largely dependent on the Government sector hospitals and these needy people do not have large expectations from the hospital besides their medical treatment and provision of basic amenities which is the right of every human being that should be well considered and provided by the Government.

The present study revealed that younger age group were more satisfied than the older age group except regarding financial aspects. These findings were in contrast to findings of Ware et al. where older age were found to be more satisfied.[9] Contrast findings were observed in another study by Matteo et al. where older patients were found to be more satisfied than younger ones.[10]

Few more studies also reported that elder respondents generally record higher satisfaction.[11],[12],[13] Age is a well-known determinant of the patient satisfaction index with older patients scoring more highly and being more satisfied than young and middle-aged patients.[14],[15]

On the contrary, Jenkinson et al. found age was only weakly associated with satisfaction.[16]

In general, it was found that women were more satisfied than males. Evidence about the effects of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status was equivocal due to the small amount of literature available on each.[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24] Some studies have indicated that female report greater satisfaction than male. While other studies have contradicted this finding.[25] Women tended to rate their care more negatively than men in some studies [26],[27],[28],[29]

The unmarried/singles were more satisfied as compared to the widowed or the married.

Hulka et al. found no relationship between marital status and satisfaction [30] while Bashur et al. reported that single persons tended to be more satisfied with the technical quality of care.[31]

Two of the four studies that correlated marital status with satisfaction variable found no relationship.[29],[30] Bashur et al. reported that single persons were less satisfied than married persons with a prepaid group practice while another author reported the opposite.[30],[32]

The literate group was more satisfied regarding all aspects of care as compared to the illiterate group. Similar findings were also observed by two such studies.[32],[33]

In a study conducted by John Cuevas, the causes of patient dissatisfaction were stated as follows: as for the availability of medicines, laboratory and radiological services, the availability of medicines got a poor satisfaction rating, compared to the availability of laboratory tests and X-ray, ultrasound and computed tomography scans. For accessibility of basic health care, patients or respondents have low satisfaction ratings to access of hospital records and access to the laboratory. As for convenience of the basic health care provided by the OPD, the majority of the respondents gave a low satisfaction rating on the waiting time to get medical records as well as for the procedure to get medical records. The comfort of the X-ray waiting area also garnered low satisfaction.[34]


  Conclusion and Recommendation Top


Overall mean satisfaction score was 2.97 ± 0.37. Highest satisfaction scores were observed among 18–20 years, males were more satisfied regarding technical quality of care while females reported higher satisfaction regarding interpersonal manner, unmarried/single group reported highest satisfaction with most of the services, literate group reported higher satisfaction than the illiterate group, affluent patients reported higher satisfaction regarding technical quality of care, financial aspect.

Causes of dissatisfaction were long waiting time, inadequacy of seating arrangement in the waiting area, inadequate cleanliness of surroundings, inadequate toilet facilities, nonavailability of medicines, and behavior of doctor.

Improvement of doctor–patient communication and cost effectiveness of the services provided is important to maintain the bond between the doctors and the patient for the achievement of the optimal level of health of the people.

Acknowledgment

The authors are highly thankful to Dr. Krishnadas Bhattacharyya, Dr. Aditya Prasad Sarkar, Prof. Indranil Saha, and Dr. Amiya Bhattacharya for their support and guidance.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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