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Am J Med Qual. 2003 Nov-Dec;18(6):256-64.

Explaining low ratings of patient satisfaction among Asian-Americans.

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Section of General Internal Medicine, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Division of General Internal Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Asian-Americans report lower levels of satisfaction with health care than other racial or ethnic groups. To determine potential reasons for this observation, we analyzed data from a national household telephone survey examining various aspects of health and health care across racial or ethnic groups. As in previous studies, Asians reported lower satisfaction with their physicians and health care services than other racial or ethnic groups, even after adjusting for demographic and health-related variables. However, Asians also reported lower satisfaction with their health insurance and with life in general and were less likely than non-Asians to have changed physicians due to dissatisfaction. We conclude that lower satisfaction ratings among Asians may be due to different response tendencies rather than to differences in quality of care. Further research is needed to explain this phenomenon and assess its potential impact on quality-of-care evaluations for clinicians and health care organizations providing care for large numbers of Asian-Americans.

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