Levels and predictors of patient satisfaction with doctor home-visit services in Australia

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Abstract

Background.

The Australian after-hours house-call (AHHC) services has grown rapidly in the past few years. Even though recent studies have looked at aspects of the service as it concerns the medical personnel involved, no national study has explored patient satisfaction with the service.

Objective.

This study aims to assess patient satisfaction with Australian AHHC services and its predictors, with the hope of improving quality and patient outcomes. The findings might also have international relevance, given the developing nature of the AHHC in most countries.

Methods.

A cross-sectional survey of all 10838 patients known to have patronized the AHHC service in Australia over a 1-week period. The main outcome measure was the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire 18 (PSQ-18).

Results.

A total of 1228 questionnaires were returned. General Satisfaction (GS) level was found to be 85.2% (mean 4.16/5). Other Scales of Satisfaction, in decreasing order, were ‘Financial Aspects, FA’ (87.4%; 4.36/5), ‘Communication, CM’ (87.3%; 4.18), ‘Technical Quality, TA’ (82.1%; 4.09), ‘Time Spent with Doctor, TSD’ (77.7%; 3.91), ‘Interpersonal Manner, IM’ (75.7%; 3.87) and ‘Accessibility and Convenience, A&C’ (72.9%; 3.82). The major predictor of increased satisfaction was the time it took the doctor to arrive, with increased satisfaction on GS (T < 4 hours; P < 0.01), IM (T < 30 minutes; P = 0.03), FA (T < 2 hours; P = 0.01), TSD (T < 2 hours; P < 0.01) and A&C (T < 4 hours; P < 0.01). Other positive predictors of aspects of satisfaction included ‘being a student’, ‘age of patient ≤ 16’ and ‘being Australian born’, while ‘being on a pension’ was negatively associated with Communication (P = 0.03). No associations were found with gender, marital status, employment status, family income or having children in the household.

Conclusions.

This study concludes that satisfaction in Australian AHHC is high on all scales but recommends that the service providers should aim to attend to patients within 4 hours of their initial calls.

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