Generally, the chosen literatures using different research methodologies show high rates of patient satisfaction. From this significant finding, majority of the studies present better ways to maintain or further improve the rating of patient satisfaction. These include commitment of the management to quality for effective results and consideration of patient perceptions which are significantly influenced by hospital support functions.
These perceptions of the patients are integral to the understanding of patients as consumers of health care systems rather than consumers of medical procedures as these determine the healthcare institution’s reputation, influence future patient demands and (Baalbaki et al, 2008).
Cultural differences One variable that affects patient satisfaction is their culture.
Cultural difference may also influence the researcher’s choice of method in his study. From the review done in this assignment, studies done on the determinants of patient satisfaction in non-Western countries yielded no significant differences with those from Western countries. However, the distinct culture of certain countries also plays a big role in determining the satisfaction of the patients of the respective countries.
Though one study found no significant effect of doctor communication skills training on patient or doctor satisfaction with the consultation, majority of the reviewed studies agree that the most important quality factor for patient satisfaction is communication affecting the doctor-patient relationship and the clarity of information about treatment and cost. Communication may be implicit that arises from successful treatment and overall service quality or explicit that arises from interpersonal relations with the dentist and the staff and the referrals of previous patients (Mazzei, Russo & Crescentini, 2009).
This just implies that trainings on communication skills of healthcare providers may or may not influence patient satisfaction. The most important thing for healthcare givers is to ask patients if they had any questions as this was shown to be significantly related to satisfaction. Dissatisfaction Based from the analysis in this assignment, not all patients are satisfied with healthcare delivery. As assessed, these groups of clients are those who are in unlikely settings. Patients in prisons expressed dissatisfaction in the health services being provided to them.
Using an instrument used in the study has been previously used nationwide on a survey on the patient satisfaction on mental health services, 41% reported being very or quite dissatisfied, a result showing a significant deviation in satisfaction level. The study, however, was not able to pinpoint whether the high level of dissatisfaction was due to the prisoners’ problematic life situations or genuinely poor health services or both (Bjorngaard, et al, 2009). Similarly, one study revealed that patients receiving emergency psychiatric services show lower satisfaction than patients of other healthcare services.
The qualitative results reveal positive feedback concerning the healthcare staff though patients showed dissatisfaction regarding the availability of beds, communication by staff, long waiting times, deficiency in giving services at home and inadequate delivery of information concerning services (O’Regan & Ryan, 2008). Limitations in the study Though the findings in this assignment are significantly useful in the world of healthcare, the deduced generalizations are limited especially when the population and sampling are taken into account. First, most studies were based on responses of patients of a single hospital or health centre.
Thus, generalizations must be made with caution. Second, convenience sampling was extensively used and many of the studies did not indicate the response rates attained or the total population under study. It is difficult on some studies to determine the adequacy of the samples or whether the samples represent the population under study. For this matter, probability sampling should have been utilized wherein random selection is applied to give equal chance of being selected to every unit in the population and to come up with representative sample; this keeps sampling error to a minimum (Bryman and Bell, 2007).
Third, the awareness of the health care providers and other service personnel on the ongoing study might affect their behaviour and performance which also influence the research result. Fourth, the validity and reliability of some of the studies are not indicated which may trigger questionable responses. Fifth, no direct comparisons or over-all generalizations on the determinants of patient satisfaction can be directly deduced from the literature taken as a whole due to differences in research methods used and the purposes of the studies.
Most studies are cross-sectional and descriptive. Therefore, trends and correlations cannot be determined easily. Sixth, most studies are primarily published in English and do not include non-English speaking samples. Though there were studies done in predominantly non-English regions, subjects were only limited to English-speaking individuals who take the Western style of healthcare service in the area and this may result in non-representation of a significant sample size.
Moreover, studies evaluating the satisfaction of patients, for which English is not their primary language may be biased by the use of interpreters to collect post-care survey data or by the collapsing of outcome data into dichotomous outcomes (Trout et al, 2000). On a more specific view, though most studies include waiting time as one of the factors of measuring patient satisfaction, no correlation was clearly established. It was neither ascertained whether short waiting time results in high satisfaction nor whether long waiting time always results in low satisfaction.
Conclusion Measurement of patient satisfaction is an evolving matter. There is no single standard research methodology or tool that can cover all types of health services. Considering some important variables in a certain study such as age, race, type of illness, gender, and location is vital in choosing a methodology or tool that suits the endeavour. Moreover, as the matter involves human behaviour, it may really be difficult, impossible or unethical to perform a true experiment to ascertain what really constitutes patient satisfaction.
Besides, real patient satisfaction can not be really measured literally as it involves subjective information. In conclusion, as most of the studies are descriptive, cross-sectional researches the current literature cannot fully determine the factors and determinants of patient satisfaction. However, recommendations are provided to serve as guidance for future studies. Recommendations With the limitations of this assignment, further intensive and more specific studies are recommended as “there is a need to also explore factors that influence patient involvement and cooperation in the delivery of health services” (Tam, 2007).
Before conducting a research, the researchers should carefully specify their problems such that the study is simpler and not complicated. Related literatures should be critically reviewed and evaluated. The use of inclusion and exclusion criteria is a very good way to screen related literatures. To allow for comparisons across or among studies, future researchers are advised to prepare a standardized measurement tool for assessing patient satisfaction. In this assignment, the ‘measuring tool’ used was based on the research method module.
Future studies are encouraged to look for more reliable, valid, and ethical measuring tools. This may be found in previous peer-reviewed studies. It is also encouraged that all future studies should allow the readers to have an overview of the adequacy of the samples. This will enable for more reliance on the study. The principle here is that, the bigger the sample, the better as its coverage is wider. Moreover, future studies or reviews on patient satisfaction measurement should choose related literatures that utilized random sampling or representative sampling.
It is advised that the level of coverage be added in the inclusion criteria. Thus, it is wiser and better to choose related literatures with broader the coverage such as those conducted nationwide or region-wide. When doing a study in non-English-speaking population, tools should be “carefully translated and reconfigured to address cultural biases…interpreters should not be used in the administration of questionnaires due to the introduction of acquiescence bias by the process of interpreter-based survey administration” (Trout et al, 2000).
As reinforcement on the use of research methods, the observational cross-sectional studies that were already done may be used as an initial phase of a longitudinal study. From this, the results of the initial studies can be used as a lever to improve patient satisfaction ratings in the future. Since trends can be established in longitudinal studies, the relevance of the determinants and factors of patient satisfaction over time can be easily studied. On research data collection tools, the use of confidential questionnaires is recommended to limit sampling biases.
Ethical considerations should be prioritized. Results from mailed, telephoned or other modes of survey should always be compared with face-to-face, self-administered and interdepartmental surveys to verify if significant differences exist. As tackled in the discussion section of this assignment, questions in a survey must be kept at a length that will be bearable to the respondents. Clear and concise questionnaires avoid fatigue in the participant and problems of walk-out in the researcher. To test questionnaire, piloting the questionnaire is also a must. This will test its validity and/or reliability.
Piloting questionnaires also gives the researcher room for improvement on his questionnaire. For a more successful piloting, open-ended questions may be utilized or added. This allows for suggestions on performance improvement and guidance for future research. Furthermore, timing in handing out surveys is an important factor. Aside from making a good time frame, surveys must be given out within reasonable time so as to allow the patient to assess the service and to ensure that he still has a good recollection of the encounter. In this way, the data to be collected will be reliable.
Lastly, correlation of contentious factors like patient health condition, waiting time, hospital facilities, etc. with patient satisfaction may be expounded further in future studies. Reference list Alaloola, N. A. & Albedaiwi, W. A. , 2008. Patient satisfaction in a Riyadh Tertiary Care Centre. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, [Online]. 21 (7), 630-637. Available at: www. emeraldinsight. com/0952-6862. htm [Accessed 26 July 2010]. Baalbaki, I. , Ahmed, Z. U. , Pashtenko, V. H. & Makarem, S. , 2008. Patient satisfaction with healthcare delivery systems.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, [Online]. 2 (1), 47-62. Available at: www. emeraldinsight. com/1750-6123. htm [Accessed 26 July 2010]. Badri, M. A. , Attia, S. & Ustadi, A. M. , 2009. Healthcare quality and moderators of patient satisfaction: testing for causality. International Journal of Health Care, [Online]. 22 (4), 382-410. Available at: http://www. emeraldinsight. com/journals. htm? articleid=1798718&show=pdf [Accessed 27 July 2010]. Bjorngaard, J. H. , Rustad, A. & Kjelsberg, E. , 2009. The prisoner as patient – a health services satisfaction survey].
BMC Health Services Research, [Online]. 9 (176), 1-9. Available at: http://www. biomedcentral. com/1472-6963/9/176/ [Accessed 27 July 2010]. Bryman, A. & Bell, E. , 2007. Business research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Google book]. Available at: http://www. google. com/books? hl=tl&lr=&id=FRZ_HSkldV0C&oi=fnd&pg=PR15&dq=Bryman,+A. +%26+Bell,+E. +%282007%29. +Business+research+methods&ots=BjVa432LIU&sig=C2uXbY6Mm07YtjpcbiPs8Irh2oM#v=onepage&q&f=false [Accessed 27 July 2010]. Cherry, K. , 2010. Correlation studies. [Online] About. com. Available at: http://psychology. about. com/od/researchmethods/a/correlational.