The effect of health status on patients' satisfaction with out-of-hours care provided by a family doctor co-operative
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Glynn, L. (2004). The effect of health status on patients' satisfaction with out-of-hours care provided by a family doctor co-operative. Family Practice 21 (6), 677-683
Background. Systems for providing primary care outside normal hours have changed significantly in Europe over the last 20 years. The impetus for this change has come almost entirely from the medical profession, and it is important to consider the patients' perspective. Although patient's satisfaction with out-of-hours care has been studied extensively, the effect of patient's health status on satisfaction level has not been examined previously. Objectives. The primary objective of this study was to investigate whether health status has an influence on patient satisfaction with out-of-hours care provided by a family doctor co-operative. The secondary objective of this study was to investigate the impact of age, gender, socio-economic status and call outcome on patients' satisfaction with out-of-hours care. Methods. All patients contacting the service over a designated 24 day period were forwarded a postal questionnaire. Health status was recorded using the Short Form-12 (SF-12) health survey. Patients' satisfaction was measured by using a version of the McKinley questionnaire. Results. The response rate was 55% (531 out of 966). Overall satisfaction levels were high, with 88% of patients rating the service as either excellent or good. Logistic regression, modelling for the simultaneous effects of age, gender, socio-economic status, call outcome and health status on overall satisfaction, found that patients with lower physical and mental health status scores were significantly less likely to be satisfied with their out-of-hours care [odds ratio (OR) 1.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-1.07, P = 0.017; and 1.03, 95% CI 1.00-1.06, P = 0.046, respectively]. Patients with higher socio-economic status were also significantly less likely to be satisfied (OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.11-0.55, P = 0.001). Patient's age and gender, and call outcome did not significantly affect overall satisfaction levels. Conclusion. Family doctor co-operatives have significantly altered the way out-of-hours care is delivered. Patients with lower health status are significantly less likely to be satisfied with this new form of out-of-hours care. This finding has important implications for the future planning of out-of-hours primary care services.