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

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Satisfaction with Health Care

Patients’ use of health care is affected 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 2008, 35.0 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 varies by education level. Women with at least a 4-year college degree were most likely to be dissatisfied (38.8 percent), followed by women with less than a high school diploma (35.5 percent). In comparison, 31.0 percent of female high school graduates were dissatisfied with aspects of their health plan’s customer service.

Overall, 15.4 percent of women were dissatisfied with how well their doctors communicate including perceptions of how carefully doctors listened to them, whether doctors explained things in a way that was easy to understand, and whether doctors spent enough time with them. This varied, however, with race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic White women were least likely to be dissatisfied with how well their doctors communicate (13.5 percent), followed by non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women (17.8 percent). Nearly one-quarter of non-Hispanic Asian women were dissatisfied with communication with their doctors (24.4 percent), as were 20 percent of Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black women.


1 Fan VS, Buman 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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