U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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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 communicate with them and individuals’ experiences with their health plans.

In 2007, 32.8 percent of women were not satisfied with their experiences related to their health plan’s customer service, including receiving needed information or help and being treated with courtesy and respect. This varied by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic Asian women were most likely to be dissatisfied (45.4 percent), while non-Hispanic White women were least likely (31.8 percent). About one-third of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women were dissatisfied with their experiences related to their health plans.

Satisfaction with how well doctors communicate varies by education level; women with higher levels of education are more likely to be satisfied. In 2007, women who had at least a 4-year college degree were most likely to be satisfied with how well their doctors communicate (84.7 percent), followed closely by those completing at least some college (83.2 percent). In contrast, fewer than three-quarters of women with less than a high school diploma were satisfied with communications with their doctors.

More than 24 percent of women were not satisfied with their experiences in getting the care they needed when they needed it, including seeing specialists and getting necessary care, tests, or treatment. The percentage of women reporting dissatisfaction was greatest among non-Hispanic Asian women (32.4 percent). More than 29 percent of Hispanic women, 28.9 percent of non-Hispanic Black and 22.3 percent of non-Hispanic White women were also not satisfied with getting the care they needed (data not shown).

Bar graph: Women’s Satisfaction with Experiences Related to Health Plans [D] Bar graph: Women’s Satisfaction with How Well Doctors Communicate [D]

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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