Chronic Illness and Patient Satisfaction

Patients, understandably, are concerned about the quality of care they receive from health care providers and now have access to comparative reporting on provider quality. Providers also are concerned about patient satisfaction, in general, and because patient satisfaction is figured into pay for performance (P4P) calculations for compensation.

These researchers wanted to understand how complexity influences patient satisfaction with care. They hypothesized that patient satisfaction relies on:

  • Patient perception of the quality of the interaction with their provider
  • Patient perception of provider’s support for the patient’s management of their condition
  • Patient’s understanding of their medical conditions and their treatment options

They used data from a survey that was conducted as part of the evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national program Aligning Forces For Quality and its 14 health care market sites. Survey respondents (7,337) had one or more of five chronic conditions but these researchers restricted their analysis to those 2,259 respondents with diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, measures frequently linked to P4P programs.

People with higher levels of illness complexity reported higher overall satisfaction with the medical care they received. Older, female, or insured patients were more satisfied with their care than others.