Education Research: Physician identification and patient satisfaction on an academic neurology inpatient service

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the relationship between neurology inpatient satisfaction and (1) number of physicians involved in the patient's care and (2) patients’ ability to identify their physicians.

Methods

A 10-item questionnaire addressing patient satisfaction and identification of physicians on the care team was administered to patients admitted to an academic, tertiary care, inpatient neurology service from May 1 to October 31, 2012. We hypothesized higher satisfaction among patients having fewer physicians on the care team and among patients able to identify their physicians.

Results

A total of 652 patients were enrolled. An average of 3.9 (range 3–8) physicians were involved in each patient's care. Patients were able to correctly identify on average 2.4 (60.7%) physicians involved in their care. Patients who were very satisfied correctly identified a larger percentage of physicians involved in their care (63.8% vs 50.7%, p < 0.001), were more likely to identify a physician who knew them best (94.3% vs 43.6%, p < 0.001) and who was “in charge” of their care (94.1% vs 57.6%, p < 0.001), and were more likely to have private insurance (82.8% vs 70.5%, p < 0.001) and fewer physicians involved in their care (3.84 vs 4.06, p = 0.02).

Conclusions

Neurology inpatients’ ability to identify physicians involved in their care is associated with patient satisfaction. Strategies to enhance patient satisfaction might target improving physician identification, reducing actual or perceived disparities in care based on payer status, and reducing handoffs or conducting handoffs at the bedside.

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