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Fam Pract. 2000 Feb;17(1):21-9.

Patient perception of quality following a visit to a doctor in a primary care unit.

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Groupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Santé and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Montréal, PQ, Canada.



Assessment of the quality of primary care services may be enhanced by including patient perceptions as well as professional judgment of quality. There is a need for reliable and valid instruments to measure these perceptions.


(i) To present a scale for measuring patient perception of quality of care following a visit to a doctor; and (ii) to analyse the responses given by patients recruited in primary care units in the Montreal region. The scale is composed of 22 items regrouped into three sub-scales referring to the patient-physician relationship (five items); the technical aspects of care (12 items); and the outcomes of the visit (five items). Distinctive features of the scale are that it focuses on patients' opinions about quality rather than on satisfaction, and that it includes items related to outcomes of the visit.


A survey was conducted on 473 patients who visited a physician in 11 primary care units in the Montreal region. Randomly selected patients received mailed questionnaires 5-7 days following their visit. Various statistical procedures were used to assess the reliability and the validity of the global scale and the sub-scales, and to analyse patients' patterns of response.


The analysis of the psychometric properties of the global scale and the three sub-scales provides favourable evidence concerning their reliability and validity. The results of the factor analysis, the inter-item correlations and the Cronbach's alpha coefficients all support the distinction made between the interpersonal processes, the technical processes and the outcomes, and, at the same time, confirm the complex nature of the notion of perceived quality. The analysis of patients' responses allows the identification of items associated with global perception about quality of care. This global perception results from patients' perception of the physician's professional and interpersonal skills as well as from the outcomes of care.


The scale can be used by physicians or primary health care units and has a wide range of applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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