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VOLUME 44 | NUMBER 5 | OCTOBER 2009


Outpatient Satisfaction: The Role of Nominal versus Perceived Communication

Objective. To examine the simultaneous associations of parent and coder assessments of communication events with parent satisfaction.

Study Setting. Five hundred twenty-two pediatrician–patient encounters.

Study Design. Parents reported on post-visit satisfaction with care and whether four communication events occurred. Raters also coded communication events from videotapes. Multivariate analyses predicted parent satisfaction.

Principal Findings. Satisfaction was greater when parents perceived at least three communication events. Parent and coder reports were nearly uncorrelated. Coder-assessed communication events not perceived by parents were unrelated to parent satisfaction.

Conclusions. Parents are more satisfied when most or all of the expected parent–physician communications occur. A successful pediatrician–parent communication event is one that a parent recognizes as having occurred; it is not merely one that a trained observer says occurred.

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