Objective. Patient satisfaction has been the object of interest in health care for some time and is now increasingly used as the basis for quality management and improvement. This study compares patient satisfaction between residents and attending in a pain clinic setting following fluoroscopy-guided steroid injections.
Design. This is a retrospective cohort design study.
Setting. The study was performed at an academic university pain management center.
Subjects. A total of 242 patients (119 female and 123 male) presenting with low back pain were evaluated and offered fluoroscopically guided steroid injections as part of a conservative care treatment plan.
Interventions. All injections were performed consecutively over a 4-month period by one attending and three senior residents (two anesthesia and one psychiatry resident). A staff member specifically asked each participant about their satisfaction following the procedure. Answers were documented as “Expected,”“Better,” or “Worse” than expected.
Outcome Measures. Two main outcome measures were recorded: 1) table and fluoroscopy time for residents and attending, and 2) patient satisfaction through subjective reporting.
Results. Overall, residents had longer mean table time and mean fluoroscopy time as compared with the attending physician (P < 0.05). Patients treated by residents were more often likely to rate their experience as “worse” compared with those treated by the attending (P < 0.05). Otherwise, the proportion of patients rating their experience “as expected” or “better” was not significantly different statistically between the two groups. In addition, as table time increased, satisfaction level decreased in both resident and attending groups.
Conclusion. Patients treated by residents are more likely to rate their experience as worse compared with the attending. However, majority of patients in both groups were satisfied in that they perceived their procedure as expected or better than expected.