Critically examine the use of patient satisfaction as a measure of health care quality. Patient satisfaction assessments are used to determine if the hospitals have accomplished the performance standards to qualify for Medicare reimbursements. Efforts are therefore focused on accomplishing the standards set in the VBP program and hence improved patient satisfaction. This essay critically examines the use of patient satisfaction as a measure of healthcare quality. It is aimed at developing a critical understanding of the political, professional and public dimensions of quality as well as an assessment of the relevance and validity of quality measures within the context of public services.
Patient satisfaction is a multidimensional result that cannot easily be defined. The expectations of different patients for any healthcare setting are varied and significantly influence their satisfaction. The nature of ailment generates psychosocial aspects that may influence how a patient rates the level of satisfaction, such as pain, unhappiness and fear among others. For the healthcare professionals, patient satisfaction is characterized by the success of surgical procedures and the objective results. On the other hand, patients are likely to base their satisfaction on the inter-personal contact with the healthcare provider. This inconsistency between the parties involved is likely to weaken patient satisfaction as a measure of quality. Moreover, some of the survey questions are based on the communication between doctor and patient, focusing on doctor’s courtesy, esteem and attentiveness to the patient as well as simplicity with which a doctor explains issues to the patient (Neuner et al. 2014). There is a possibility of bias associated with individual perceptions of behavior and expectations.
Doctors may not be focused on the interpersonal relationship as much as they do for the ailment, which makes efficient doctor-patient communication difficult. In most cases, inpatients are not aware of the doctor in charge of their treatment.