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Measuring patient satisfaction with anaesthesia: perioperative questionnaire versus standardised face-to-face interview

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Patient satisfaction represents an essential part of quality management. Measuring the degree of patient satisfaction can be achieved with a variety of tools such as postoperative visits and patient questionnaires. The primary aim of this study was to quantify the degree of patient satisfaction with anaesthesia. A secondary aim was to compare the questionnaire technique with standardised face-to-face interviewing. Methods:

The authors prospectively studied 700 patients on the second postoperative day. Patients were randomised and allocated to complete either a written questionnaire or to answer the same questions during a standardised face-to-face interview. The questionnaire was subdivided into a set of questions on anaesthesia-related discomfort and another set on satisfaction with anaesthesia care in general. The questions on discomfort were assessed on a 3-point scale, and those on patient satisfaction on a 4-point scale. Results:

Response rate was 84% (589 of 700 patients). Internal consistency, as measured by Cronbach’s α, was 0.84. When evaluating the questions on anaesthesia-related discomfort, the most frequent sensations were “drowsiness” (>75%), “pain at the surgical site” (>55%), and “thirst” (>50%). The data on patient satisfaction showed a high degree of satisfaction (>90%). The responses to questions on anaesthesia-related discomfort revealed only minor differences between the questionnaire and the face-to-face interview. The questions on satisfaction with anaesthesia, however, were answered consistently in a more critical manner during the interview (P<0.0001). Conclusions:

The standardised interview may be more suited to determine patient satisfaction than a questionnaire. Quality improvements are possible for emergence from anaesthesia, postoperative pain therapy, and the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting.
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Keywords: Anesthesia; discomfort; interview; measurement techniques; outcome; patient satisfaction; questionnaire

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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