Background: Doctor-patient interaction plays an important role in patient satisfaction, treatment results, medical expenses, quality of clinical services and even patient’s complaints toward doctors and health care system.
Objectives: This study was performed to assess the level of patient satisfaction in the Iranian context.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in a public clinic in Tehran in 2010. The participants included 392 patients who referred to this center for a period of two months. A patient satisfaction questionnaire was used which had 24 items on patient satisfaction with the communication skills of the physician that included six subscale scores. The total score and subscales scores were calculated on a maximum possible of 100.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 38 years and 69% of them were female. The education level of most patients was high school diploma or higher (72%). The mean patient satisfaction score was 44 ± 15. Patients expressed highest satisfaction with patient training (56 ± 24) and response to their questions (49 ± 17) while they were least satisfied with the examination (31 ± 23). No significant relation was found between patient age and overall patient satisfaction (P = 0.392, r = 0-.007). In addition, no significant differences were found between the overall scores of male and female or married and single patients. However, highly educated or salaried employee patients showed a higher satisfaction score than self-employed or unemployed patients (P < 0.001). The results of the regression analysis showed education and employment status of patients to be the effective variables on patients’ satisfaction.
Conclusions: The results of the present study revealed that patients are not highly satisfied with the communication skills of physicians and they were least satisfied only with the quality of examination processes by the physicians. In addition, patients with lower education showed lower satisfaction as well. Thus, a higher quality and elaboration of examination, more patience and better communication skills considering the education and social status of the patients may increase patient satisfaction.
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