Aims It has long been held that high-quality care has both technical and interpersonal aspects. The nature and strength of any association between both aspects remain poorly explored. This study investigated the associations between diabetes patients’ reports of receiving recommended care (as measures of technical quality) and their experience and ratings (as measures of interpersonal care).
Methods Using data from a cross section of 3096 patients with diabetes nested within 24 diabetes-care-networks, we conducted multilevel regression analysis of the relationships between nine indicators of receiving care recommended in practice guidelines and: six scales of patient experience and global ratings of general practitioner, nurses, and overall diabetes care.
Results On average, reporting having received recommended care was associated with reporting better patient experience and ratings. The extent and frequencies of these associations varied across the different care processes. Receiving foot examination, physical activity advice, smoking status check, eye examination, and HbA1c testing, but not nutritional advice, urine, cholesterol or blood pressure checks, were statistically associated with better patient experience and global ratings. Those who received HbA1c testing rated their overall care 1.002 points higher (95% confidence interval: 0.726–1.278) on a scale of 0–10 than those who did not.
Conclusions Higher self-reported technical quality of care in diabetes appears to be frequently but not always associated with better experiences and ratings. It is possible that the former leads to the latter and/or that both share a common cause within providers. Both care aspects do not seem interchangeable during performance assessment.