Author: Tasneem, Aleena; Shaukat, Sundas; Amin, Fatima; Mahmood, Khawaja Tahir
Date published: November 1, 2010
The term 'Patient Satisfaction ' was not extensively researched during the 1960's and the 70's. The topic was discussed more in the 1980's and between the period of 1980 and 1996 there was a fivefold increase in the research done on this topic. Measurement of patient satisfaction plays an important role in pushing health care providers towards being accountable to their patients. It is an important component of health care services provided by a hospital to its patients. A comparative study of patient satisfaction in teaching and non teaching hospitals will help to better understand the deficiencies of health care systems and to overcome them to ensure better quality services to the patients . Patient satisfaction is an attitude - a person's general orientation towards a total experience of health care. Satisfaction comprises both cognitive and emotional facets and relates to previous experiences, expectations and social networks . It is emergent and fluid . It has also been described as a particularly passive form of establishing consumer's views .
A patient satisfaction system should address each patient's medical care and service needs at the "point-of-care" before the patient leaves the medical facility. It should be patient centered by actively involving each patient in his /her own healthcare evaluation planning and continuous quality improvement. Patient needs are aligned with the required healthcare resources which simultaneously produces better and efficient results. 
Patient satisfaction is a highly desirable outcome of clinical care in the hospital and may even be an element of health status itself. A patient's expression of satisfaction or dissatisfaction is a judgement on the quality of hospital care in all of its aspects whatever its strengths and limitations. Patient satisfaction is an indication that should be indispensable to the assessment of the quality of care in hospitals.
Patient-centered outcomes have taken center stage as the primary means of measuring the effectiveness of health care delivery. It is commonly acknowledged that patients' reports of their health and quality of life, and their satisfaction with the quality of care and services, are as important as many clinical health measures. 
Pledging quality in health care services ought to be a priority for any health care system. The notion of quality has emerged more strongly because of the rising costs of treatments, constrained resources in health services and evidence of variations in clinical practice. A quality health care system is one which guarantees the continuum of care, not merely for curative services, but for health promotion as well as prevention. Assessment of quality usually focuses on technical concerns as well as the process through which care is delivered. This assessment becomes more authentic and legitimate if based on the application of professional standards integrating the patients' views, experiences and perceptions. However, an effective system can only function properly, if it operates on a regular assessment of people's perceptions and monitors itself based on their feedback .
Today, health care organizations have begun to conduct patient satisfaction surveys and use results for evaluation of the quality of medical care. Another goal of patient satisfaction research is to incorporate patient's views on what values should be associated with different outcomes when defining quality care 
METHODS AND MATERIAL
This study was conducted in Lahore in June 2010. Lahore's economic dominance has led to the massive influx of people from all areas of the country making it a multi-linguistic, multi-ethnic and multicultural region. To fulfill the requirements of the project assigned 3 hospitals were visited: two at government level and one at DHQ level. The patients were selected randomly and after obtaining consent, a prestructured questionnaire was provided to the patients. Data was collected based on the patient's experience in the hospital, their demographic characteristics (age, sex), cost of treatment and patient satisfaction with regard to services and management at the hospital. For the purpose of obtaining accurate results 140 patients were given the questionnaires and 50 patients were taken from government hospitals each and 40 from DHQ level. In order to effectively observe patient satisfaction throughout the hospitals the patients were selected from the Emergency department, OPD and General wards. Descriptive statistical analysis was carried out on the data collected.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
A comparative study was conducted to measure patient satisfaction in teaching hospitals and at DHQ level. Different parameters of patient satisfaction were considered and all aspects pertaining to the patients were duly reflected in the data collection form i.e. the treatment provided by doctors, hospital environment and facilities, accessibility of facilities, services in emergency etc. It was seen that the patient satisfaction regarding treatment of doctors in government hospitals was above 77% whereas at DHQ level it was 95% as shown in Figure 1.
Most patients felt that the doctors treating them were able to treat their diseases and were confident about the treatment they were receiving when questioned. In government hospitals the 47% patients absolutely agreed that hospital environment was what they needed to recover from their diseases while at DHQ level patients agreement were above 55% as shown in Figure 2.
Services provided in emergency department were also monitored, the results of which are shown in Figure 3.
The financial burden on the patients admitted at a hospital at DHQ level was less due to the fact that the hospital operates at a smaller scale and better able to fulfill the needs of the patients as shown in Figure 4.
Patient satisfaction regarding almost all the parameters was well above average and detailed analysis of figures 6-33 would show that it was considered to be somewhat better at DHQ level the reason being that a smaller hospital where almost all expenses are paid and fewer patients admitted leads to better overall care giving opportunities. Also DHQ level exhibits one man administration whereas the teaching hospitals have a number of administrators and hence clinical outcomes are somewhat affected .One purpose of the survey conducted was to assess the role of pharmacist in these hospitals. On evaluation of the results it was found that almost 100% of all the patients in these hospitals were not aware of who a pharmacist is and what his responsibilities are. Another disturbing factor that was illuminated was that the patients admitted in hospitals do not purchase drugs from the pharmacy of the hospital and are more comfortable getting their medicines from outside which naturally leads to almost no interaction with the pharmacist and no communication which leads to lack of knowledge and instructions regarding the patients medication and hence leads to drug related problems. As pharmacy is still a profession that is emerging the doctors here in Pakistan seem reluctant to encourage the use of a pharmacist in designing drug therapy regimens for patients. In general the government hospitals in Pakistan mostly cater to patients of the lower economic
group and the reason for them to be satisfied wholly with the care and treatment provided here arises from the fact that the areas from which they come have barely any facilities to cater to their needs.
The results clearly show that patient satisfaction at DHQ level is profoundly greater when compared to that of teaching hospitals as better health care services can be provided when a hospital has one man administration and hence improved setting for accommodating patients.
There is definitely room for improvement regarding patient satisfaction in these hospitals and patients need to be made aware of their rights so that they can demand better health care services from the doctors and the heath care facilities so that measures are taken to promote rational drug therapy and to improve the patients quality of life.
The authors are grateful and acknowledge Dr. Prof Bushra Mateen Vice Chancellor of L.C.W.U , Lahore for her support during this project
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Aleena Tasneem1, Sundas Shaukat 1, Fatima Amin1 and . Khawaja Tahir Mahmood2
1 Department of Pharmacy, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan
2 DTL, Lahore, Pakistan