Is quality important to our patients? The relationship between surgical outcomes and patient satisfaction

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With greater transparency in health system reporting and increased reliance on patient-centred outcomes, patient satisfaction has become a priority in delivering quality care. We sought to explore the relationship between patient satisfaction and short-term outcomes in patients undergoing general surgical procedures.


Satisfaction surveys were distributed to patients following discharge from the general surgery service at an academic hospital between June 2012 and March 2015. Short-term clinical outcomes were obtained from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Patients rated their level of satisfaction on a 5-point Likert scale, and ordered logistic regression model was used to determine predictors of high patient satisfaction.


757 patient satisfaction surveys were completed. The mean age of patients surveyed was 52.2 years; 60.0% of patients were female. The majority of patients underwent a laparoscopic procedure (85.9%) and were admitted as inpatients following surgery (72%). 91.5% of patients rated satisfaction of 4–5, and 95.0% said they would recommend the service. The odds of overall satisfaction were lower in patients who had complications (OR: 0.52, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.87) and 30-day readmission (OR: 0.35, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.70). Having elective surgery was associated with higher odds of satisfaction (OR: 1.62, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.47).


We found a significant association between patient satisfaction and both 30-day readmission and the occurrence of postoperative surgical complications. Given this association, further study is warranted to evaluate patient satisfaction as a healthcare quality indicator.

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