Analysis Blog #2

The goal of this analysis is to recognize factors suspected of influencing patients’ perceptions of the quality of healthcare received. Physician-patient interaction is an important factor that influences health outcomes and it is expected that if interactions with healthcare providers are perceived by the patient as being positive, then patients will seek routine medical attention, potentially leading to healthier life outcomes. This analysis attempts to determine what factors affect the belief of Americans that they receive quality healthcare from their healthcare professionals.

Patient perception of quality of healthcare has many implications for treatment and recovery. Many factors are associated with perceptions of quality of care received, including ethnicity, levels of trust & satisfaction with healthcare providers, feelings that patients’ concerns are heard, validated and addressed and a general sense that healthcare providers care about the individual needs of the patients. Levels of trust between patient and healthcare providers have been correlated with improved outcomes. Patients feeling satisfied with the provider-patient interactions and trusting in their healthcare providers are more likely to participate in their healthcare and follow treatment instructions.

Differences in the physician-patient relationship exist between ethnic groups. In analyzing satisfaction and trust of physician style, researchers found significantly lower levels of trust among minority groups as compared to whites. Levels of participation in their own healthcare among ethnic groups vary as well. African Americans are less likely to participate as compared to whites. Feelings of assertiveness during interactions with healthcare providers are lower among certain cultures.

I anticipated that patients who perceive the interactions with their healthcare professionals will also perceive the quality of care received as high. The following research hypothesis was proposed:

H1: Patients reporting receiving positive medical experiences will rate with quality of healthcare received higher than those patients reporting less than positive medical experiences.

Using data from the 2012 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), this project uses as the dependent variable respondent ratings on the quality of health care received in the past 12 months. Using SPSS, independent variable responses were compared to ratings of quality of healthcare received. Ratings are scored on either a 4-point or 5-point Likert scale, where 1 indicates the highest rating and either 4 or 5 indicates the lowest rating. The findings of this analysis are presented below. Independent variables, considered to be factors in patient perceptions of receiving quality healthcare, were selected based on prior research discussed above.

In general, how would you say your health is?

In general, how much do you trust information about health or medical topics from a doctor?
In the past 12 months, how often did you feel that you could rely on your doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals to take care of your health care needs?
In the past 12 months, how often did your health professional give you the chance to ask all the health-related questions you had?
In the past 12 months, how often did your health professional give the attention you needed to your feelings and emotions?
In the past 12 months, how often did your health professional involve you in decisions about your health care as much as you wanted?
In the past 12 months, how often did your health professional make sure you understood the things you needed to do to take care of your health?

As predicted, when patients perceived that interactions with healthcare professionals were positive, patients indicated that they received quality healthcare. Patients that were given opportunity to ask all their health related questions, had their feelings and emotions attended to, felt their needs were being addressed, were included in their health care planning, and understood the things they needed to do to take care of their health reported receiving quality care at higher rates. In contrast, a weaker relationship was found between trust in the information received from the doctor and quality of healthcare received in the last 12 months. Likewise, patient’s perceptions of their general health was not highly correlated with the quality of healthcare received in the last 12 months

I unexpectedly  discovered there were no real disparities in perceptions of the quality of healthcare received between gender and race/ethnicity groups as well education levels.

Future research should perform deeper analysis of the effect that bedside manner of healthcare professionals has on health outcomes. It is important research to take on because if healthcare professionals can identify what factors influence patients’ perceptions of interactions with their providers, it is possible that patient outcomes can be improved.