Satisfaction with Health Care

Patients’ utilization of health care is influenced by the quality of care; those who are not satisfied with their providers may be less likely to continue with treatment or seek further services.1 Some aspects of patients’ experience of care that may contribute to better outcomes are patients’ perceptions of how well their doctors or other health care providers communicate with them and individuals’ experiences with their health plans.

In 2006, 40.7 percent of women were not satisfied with their experiences related to their health plans, which could include health plan customer service, understanding or finding information related to their plan, and completing or submitting paperwork for the plan. This varied by race and ethnicity. Asian women were most likely to be dissatisfied (46.5 percent), followed by non-Hispanic White women (42.9 percent). Fewer than 35 percent of non-Hispanic Black women and 36.3 percent of Hispanic women were unsatisfied with their experiences related to their health plans.

Satisfaction with how well doctors communicate also varies by women’s race and ethnicity. In 2006, Hispanic women (25.9 percent) and Asian women (24.0 percent) were more likely to be dissatisfied with how well their doctors communicate than women of other races. Fewer than 20 percent of non-Hispanic Black women and 15.7 percent of non-Hispanic White women were not satisfied with aspects of communication with their doctors.

More than 36 percent of women were not satisfied with their experiences in getting the care they need when they needed it, including seeing specialists; getting necessary care, tests or treatment; and delays in receiving care caused by waiting for health plan approval. The percentage of women reporting dissatisfaction was greatest among Asian women (47.1 percent). Nearly 40 percent of Hispanic women and 34 percent each of non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White women were also not satisfied with getting the care they needed (data not shown).

1 Fan VS, Burman M, McDonnell MB, Fihn SD. Continuity of Care and Other Determinants of Patient Satisfaction with Primary Care. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2005; 20:226-233.

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