Patient Satisfaction and Hospital Services Evaluation by Regular and Private Patients
Sara Carmel, Jonathan Halevy
Dept. of the Sociology of Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of
the Negev, Beer Sheba; Sha'are Zedek Medical Center and Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem
"Sharap" is a private medical service integrated within our public clinic and hospital services. Clients may choose their physician by paying a fee in addition to what their health insurance agency (Kupat Holim) pays for. All other hospital services are supplied to all patients alike. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent to which this declared policy is maintained in practice.
During 5 months in 1997, 198 Sharap patients and 198 regular patients were interviewed in the the general surgery, cardiac surgery, ENT, cardiology, newborn and gynecology wards of this hospital. Both groups were similar in regard to cause of hospitalization, gender, age group (10-year age ranges), and length of hospitalization (at least 24 hours).
Similar levels of satisfaction with hospitalization in general and with the nursing service and with supportive services were found in both groups. However, Sharap patients were more satisfied with their physicians than regular patients (87% vs 74%, respectively). Similar results were also found using indirect measures of satisfaction. About 86% in both groups reported having achieved the goal of improvement in health. A high proportion of respondents from both groups (82% and 88%, respectively) could not distinguish between Sharap and regular patients in the ward. However, a greater proportion of regular patients (35% vs 21%) wanted more extensive explanations from their physicians regarding their treatment.
Sharap patients belonged to higher socio-economic classes than regular patients. Our evaluation indicates that although the Sharap service enables the affluent to choose their preferred physician, resulting in a different doctor-patient relationship, the service does not create a significant feeling of discrimination among hospitalized patients, and does not interfere with the high level of health services available to the public at large.