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Satisfaction survey among primary health care outpatients in the backward region: an empirical study from rural Western China

Authors He X, Li L, Bian Y

Received 27 April 2018

Accepted for publication 3 August 2018

Published 2 October 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1989—1996


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Xin He,1 Lingui Li,2 Ying Bian1

1State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau SAR, China; 2School of Public Health and Management, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, China

Background: With a growing health demand, patient satisfaction analysis is essential for evaluating the accessibility and performance of medical services. Previous studies had explored the Chinese outpatient satisfaction and influencing factors in developed areas and tertiary hospitals. Considering the lower education level, less income, and heavier economic burden, it was necessary to conduct a region-specific questionnaire survey for the outpatient’s satisfaction in rural Western China.
Objective: To analyze the satisfaction of primary outpatient service in rural Western China, and explore the factors affecting outpatients’ satisfaction.
Methods: Questionnaire composed of nine 5-Likert items was applied to survey outpatient satisfaction among randomly selected samples in 11 provinces of Western China. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to study the factor structure of questionnaire. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was performed to study the influencing factors.
Results: A total of 2,754 outpatients completed the questionnaire, the response rate was 88.7%. Respondents were most satisfied with medical staff service attitude (3.71±0.83) and least satisfied with medical cost (2.97±0.83). A 3-factor solution was adopted in EFA to explain the overall satisfaction. Factors identified were “Service attitude”, “Facility and professional skills”, and “Patients’ cost”. And, the questionnaire was proved to have good reliability and acceptable internal consistency. The stepwise multiple linear regression analysis results presented that factors, including sample hospital type (P<0.05), age (P<0.001), education level (P<0.05), occupation (P<0.01), monthly income (P<0.05), and chronic disease conditions (P<0.01) were significantly associated with the dimensional or overall satisfaction.
Conclusion: The primary health care outpatient satisfaction in rural Western China is lower than developed areas and tertiary hospitals. Care providers in backward regions should pay more attention to patients’ demographic characteristics and health status, to meet outpatients’ actual demand. Efficient hospital management methods, modern technology, and staff training are needed to improve the service quality and care efficiency.

Keywords: outpatient satisfaction, factor analysis, stepwise multiple linear regression, county-level hospitals, backward regions, Western China

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