INTRODUCTION: Patient satisfaction with care received is an important dimension of evaluation that is examined only rarely in developing countries. Evidence about how satisfaction differs according to type of provider or patient payment status is extremely limited.
OBJECTIVE: To i) compare patient perceptions of quality of inpatient and outpatient care in hospitals of different ownership and ii) explore how patient payment status affected patient perception of quality.
METHODS: Inpatient and outpatient satisfaction surveys were implemented in nine purposively selected hospitals: three public, three private for-profit and three private non-profit.
RESULTS: Clear and significant differences emerged in patient satisfaction between groups of hospitals with different ownership. Non-profit hospitals were most highly rated for both inpatient and outpatient care. For inpatient care public hospitals had higher levels of satisfaction amongst clientele than private for-profit hospitals. For example 76% of inpatients at public hospitals said they would recommend the facility to others compared with 59% of inpatients at private for-profit hospitals. This pattern was reversed for outpatient care, where public hospitals received lower ratings than private for-profit ones. Patients under the Social Security Scheme, who are paid for on a capitation basis, consistently gave lower ratings to certain aspects of outpatient care than other patients. For inpatient care, patterns by payment status were inconsistent and insignificant.
CONCLUSIONS: The survey confirms, to some extent, the stereotypes about quality of care in hospitals of different ownership. The results on payment status are intriguing but warrant further research.
International Journal for Quality in Health Care (1999) 11 (4) 309-317 [doi:10.1093/intqhc/11.4.309]