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BMJ Open. 2017 Aug 21;7(8):e017100. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017100.

Assessing residents' knowledge of patient satisfaction: a cross-sectional study at a large academic medical centre.

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Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine,Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Disease, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
VA Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (IQuESt), Houston VA, Houston, Texas, USA.
Department of Medicine, Section of Health Services Research ,Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Center for Research Innovation and Scholarship in Medical Education, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA.



Patient satisfaction impacts healthcare quality and outcomes. Residents play an important role in patient satisfaction at academic institutions. This study aims to assess residents' patient satisfaction knowledge and determine which learning experiences contributed to their knowledge acquisition.


This study was conducted at a health science university in a large, urban, tertiary-care academic medical centre in the USA.


All residents from internal medicine (n=185) and paediatrics (n=156) were asked to participate.


Residents completed a survey from April 2013 to December 2013 that assessed (1) knowledge of factors that impact patient satisfaction and (2) learning experiences that may have contributed to their understanding of the drivers of patient satisfaction (eg, experiential (personal or clinical) or didactics). Trainees identified the importance of factors in determining patient satisfaction on a five-point Likert scale; answers were compiled into a knowledge score. The score was correlated with prior personal/clinical experience and didactics.


Of the 341 residents, 247 (72%) completed the survey. No difference was found in knowledge among training levels or residency programme. More than 50% incorrectly thought physician board certification, patient's education, patient's income and physician's age impacted satisfaction. Personal experience, through hospitalisation of a relative or friend, was correlated with higher knowledge (67% vs 71%, p=0.03). Ninety-nine per cent (n=238) stated peer observation, and all stated faculty feedback impacted their patient satisfaction knowledge. Seventy-seven per cent (n=185) had attended didactics on satisfaction, but attendance did not correlate with higher scores.


Our study showed trainees have a few gaps in their patient satisfaction knowledge, and attending past educational sessions on patient satisfaction did not correlate with higher knowledge scores. Our data suggest that academic centres should leverage residents' personal experiences, their observations of peers and faculty feedback to enhance patient satisfaction knowledge.


graduate medical education; patient experience; patient satisfaction; quality improvement

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Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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