METHODS: After IRB approval, a self-report questionnaire was distributed to adult patients following an Allergy/Immunology clinic visit. Demographic information and reason for visit were obtained. Patients were specifically asked if the physician inquired about the patient’s expectations in a number of visit components (diagnosis, testing, symptom improvement, and follow up). Patients were also asked if expectations regarding these components were met. Patients then rated their overall visit satisfaction on a standard Likert scale.
RESULTS: Completed questionnaires were collected from 198 patients. Addressing patients’ specific expectations regarding any of the identified visit components correlated significantly with higher overall satisfaction scores, even when corrected for patient age and gender. The strongest association was seen with meeting patient expectations regarding making a diagnosis to explain symptoms, where these patients were 15.6 times more likely to have high overall satisfaction (OR 15.6, 95% confidence limits 6.8, 35.5). We found no correlation between visit diagnosis, number of visit diagnoses, patient age or gender with overall visit satisfaction scores.
CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate an association between patients’ perceived physician inquiry into expectations for a clinic visit and overall patient satisfaction at visit completion. In order to improve communication and patient satisfaction, physicians should address patients’ expectations during the medical visit.