Postprint: Hutchinson, M & Jackson, D 2015, 'Editorial: Patient satisfaction surveys and care quality: a continuum conundrum', Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 23, no. 7, pp. 831-832.
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In recent years reporting patient satisfaction has become an important feature of the healthcare landscape. In countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, measures of patient satisfaction are increasingly being employed as drivers of quality and accountability. Patient satisfaction has also been tied to value-based purchasing as part of a suite of strategies seeking to drive improved performance and efficiency. In a number of countries investigations into largescale care failures have also reported failure to listen to patients as a key factor in these failures (Garling 2008, Thomḗ 2009), leading to refocused efforts to improve patient satisfaction.
As part of this patient satisfaction agenda, nurses have changed leadership practices and re-designed nursing care delivery in efforts to improve patient satisfaction. Yet the merits (or otherwise) of employing patient satisfaction as a measure of care quality remain unclear. Given the continued attention to patient satisfaction it is important to establish whether satisfaction is an adequate or appropriate primary indicator of nursing care quality. Without clear evidence of the link between patient satisfaction and care quality there is a risk of distracting attention and resources from other efforts to improve quality and safety.