Methods for measuring patient satisfaction with specific medical encounters

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Ambulatory Care; California; *Consumer Satisfaction; Health Services Research; Humans; Patient Compliance; *Physician-Patient Relations; Questionnaires; Statistics as Topic


Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


This paper presents the results of two studies that compared methods for measuring patient satisfaction with specific medical encounters. One form used six-point response scales ranging from "very satisfied" to "very dissatisfied" (S6 scale); the other used five-point scales ranging from "excellent" to "poor" (E5 scale). Forms were assigned randomly to outpatients in fee-for-service (N = 136) and prepaid systems of care (N = 363) and were compared in terms of response variability, reliability, and validity. In both studies, the E5 scales showed greater response variability and better predicted whether patients intended to return to the same doctor in the future, recommend the doctor to a friend, and comply with the medical regimen. Reliability was satisfactory and did not differ between methods. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for constructing visit-specific satisfaction rating scales.


Med Care. 1988 Apr;26(4):393-402. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Medical care

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed