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Towards patient-centered health services in India—a scale to measure patient perceptions of quality

Future Health Systems

Rao KD, Peters DH, Bandeen-Roche K. Towards patient-centered health services in India--a scale to measure patient perceptions of quality. International Journal of Quality in Health Care. 2006;18(6):414-421.


Objectives. (i) To develop a reliable and valid scale to measure in-patient and outpatient perceptions of quality in India and (ii) to identify aspects of perceived quality which have large effects on patient satisfaction.

Design. Cross-sectional survey of health facilities and patients at clinics.

Setting. Primary health centers, community health centers, district hospitals, and female district hospitals in the state of Uttar Pradesh in north India.

Main outcome measures. Internal consistency, validity, and factor structure of the scale are evaluated. The association between patient satisfaction and perceived quality dimensions is examined.

Results. A 16-item scale having good reliability and validity is developed. Five dimensions of perceived quality are identified—medicine availability, medical information, staff behavior, doctor behavior, and hospital infrastructure. Patient perceptions of quality at public health facilities are slightly better than neutral. Multivariate regression analysis results indicate that for outpatients, doctor behavior has the largest effect on general patient satisfaction followed by medicine availability, hospital infrastructure, staff behavior, and medical information. For in-patients, staff behavior has the largest effect followed by doctor behavior, medicine availability, medical information, and hospital infrastructure.

Conclusions. The scale developed can be used to measure perceived quality at a range of facility types for outpatients and in-patients. Perceived quality at public facilities is only marginally favorable, leaving much scope for improvement. Better staff and physician interpersonal skills, facility infrastructure, and availability of drugs have the largest effect in improving patient satisfaction at public health facilities.