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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 1995 Jul-Aug;2(4):250-9.

Patient satisfaction and normative decision theory.

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  • Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-4904, USA.


This article explores the application of normative decision theory (NDT) to the challenge of facilitating and measuring patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction is the appraisal, by an individual, of the extent to which the care provided has met that individual's expectations and preferences. Classic decision analysis provides a graphic and computational strategy to link patient preferences for outcomes to the treatment choices likely to produce the outcomes. Multiple criteria models enable the complex judgment task of measuring patient satisfaction to be decomposed into elemental factors that reflect patient preferences, thus facilitating evaluation of care in terms of factors relevant to the individual patient. Through the application of NDT models, it is possible to use patient preferences as a guide to the treatment planning and care monitoring process and to construct measures of patient satisfaction that are meaningful to the individual. Nursing informatics, with its foundations in both information management and decision sciences, provides the tools and data necessary to promote care provided in accord with patient preferences and to ensure appraisal of satisfaction that aptly captures the complex, multidimensional nature of patient preferences.

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