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Background: Despite efforts to enhance the patient experience, many health care providers continue to struggle to improve patient satisfaction as the identification of tangible quality improvement areas remains difficult. This dilemma is particularly relevant in pediatric settings, where patient satisfaction measures have not been as thoroughly studied in subspecialties such as orthopaedics. We investigate this issue to identify the major drivers of patient satisfaction in pediatric orthopaedics, which has significant financial and professional implications for both hospital administrators and health care providers. Although recent patient experience studies emphasize on improving access to care and nurturing hospitality by facilities upgrades or staff development, we hypothesized that the patient-physician relationship remains the most important factor in patients' assessment of their experiences.
Methods: Patient satisfaction surveys were collected from outpatient visits to pediatric orthopaedic practices at 5 locations in 3 states. Data were aggregated as monthly percentages of responses on a 5-point Likert scale. Month over month Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were generated between top responses for "Likelihood of Your Recommending Our Practice to Others" (LTR) and other variables.
Results: In total, 6195 families completed satisfaction surveys. The variables most predictive of likelihood to recommend the practice were "Staff Worked Together" (r=0.82), "Friendliness/Courtesy of Care Provider" (r=0.80), "Cheerfulness of Practice" (r=0.80), "Likelihood of Recommending Care Provider" (r=0.80), and "Care Provider's Information about Medications" (r=0.78).
Conclusions: Measurements of the patient-physician relationship, along with overall cheerfulness and staff collaboration, have the strongest relationships to LTR. These results suggest that patient satisfaction is influenced by more than just the patient-physician relationship, and may have significance in aiding pediatric orthopaedic clinics in their quality assurance/quality improvement plans of enhancing the patient experience.