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Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Aug;11(8):827-33.

Patient and primary care physician satisfaction with chest pain unit and routine care.

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Medical Care Research Unit and Emergency Department, Northern General Hospital, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England.



The chest pain unit (CPU) has been developed to improve care for patients with acute, undifferentiated chest pain. The authors aimed to measure patient and primary care physician (PCP) satisfaction with CPU care and routine care and to determine whether patient satisfaction predicted PCP satisfaction.


A CPU was established, and 442 days were randomly allocated to either CPU care or routine care. Consenting patients presenting with acute, undifferentiated chest pain were recruited and followed at two days and one month. All were given a self-completed patient satisfaction questionnaire two days after attendance (N = 972). Each patient's PCP was sent a self-completed satisfaction questionnaire during days 171-442 of the trial (N = 601). Analysis determined whether CPU care was associated with improved patient or PCP satisfaction and whether patient satisfaction predicted PCP satisfaction for three questions relating to diagnosis, treatment, and overall care.


CPU care was consistently associated with higher scores across all patient satisfaction questions, from the perceived thoroughness of examination to care received to an overall assessment of the service received. However, CPU care achieved small improvements in only two of ten PCP satisfaction questions, concerning overall management of the patient and the amount of information about investigations performed. Furthermore, patient satisfaction did not predict PCP satisfaction in relation to diagnosis (p = 0.456), treatment (p = 0.256), or overall care (p = 0.085).


CPU care is associated with substantial improvements in all dimensions of patient satisfaction but only minimal improvements in PCP satisfaction. Patient satisfaction was not a strong predictor of PCP satisfaction with emergency care.

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