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To what extent does patient experience account for variation in patient satisfaction with a healthcare system?

Emmanuel Kumah


Background: Patient experience and patient satisfaction, the two recognized indicators for assessing the quality of healthcare, are related, but distinct concepts. While there is existing evidence concerning a statistically significant association between these two concepts, research on the extent to which patient experience accounts for variation in patients’ overall satisfaction with health services has produced contradictory results.  

Objectives: The primary aim of this paper was to determine the extent to which satisfaction with a healthcare system is explained by patient experience. A secondary objective was to identify the aspects of patient experience that relate most strongly to satisfaction with health services.

Methods: The study was a secondary analysis of quantitative data from the 2006 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Survey. Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the association between global satisfaction and CAHPS domains of patient-reported experience with healthcare. Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were computed to ascertain the aspects of patients’ experiences that have strong association with their overall satisfaction. 

Findings: Much (67.4%) of the variation in overall patient satisfaction was accounted for by patient experience. Factors related to patient-professional relationship related strongly with patients’ overall satisfaction with health services

Conclusion: Patient experience of care is a major determinant of patients’ overall satisfaction with a healthcare system and the two concepts are not marginally related.


patient experience, patient satisfaction, health services, quality improvement

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