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Health Expect. 1999 Mar;2(1):51-60.

The relationship between expectations and satisfaction: a qualitative study of patients' experiences of surgery for gynaecological cancer.

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  • 1Principal Research Officer, Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia.


It is important that a patient perspective is introduced to the identification and measurement of the outcomes of health care. The aim of this study was to use qualitative methods to examine the presence or absence of expectations prior to the experience of health care and the relationship between expectations, satisfaction and dissatisfaction in a group of women undergoing surgery in a large teaching hospital. Nineteen women with a diagnosis of gynaecological cancer were interviewed on two occasions, before and after surgery. A thematic analysis was undertaken. The results suggest that there is not a clear relationship between expectations and satisfaction. Women had different levels of expectations about different types of care and different aspects of care. Unfulfilled expectations did not lead to less satisfaction. The women were able to express satisfaction either with the care overall or with specific aspects of care, as well as being able to distinguish aspects of care with which they were dissatisfied.

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