Rating satisfaction research: Is it poor, fair, good, very good, or excellent?


  • Michele T. di Palo ABD

    Corresponding author
    • Director, Outcomes and Program Assessment, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, 100 Summer Street MS 01/07, Boston, MA 02110
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Satisfaction is one of the core outcome measures for health care. It is intuitively more appealing than measures of health care effectiveness or efficiency that are more difficult to understand. Satisfaction with health care is a measure with a long history in the social sciences. Most current research is less interested in correlations between patient characteristics and satisfaction and more focused on improving the quality of care and service delivered to patients and health plan members. While this article provides a brief overview of historical satisfaction literature, the primary focus is on current trends in measuring satisfaction, including efforts by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the Foundation for Accountability. Limitations of current satisfaction measures are discussed; alternatives to using satisfaction to understand the experience of the health care system are suggested.