Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Properties of a short questionnaire for assessing Primary Care experiences for children in a population survey

Silvina Berra12*, Kátia B Rocha34, Maica Rodríguez-Sanz34, M Isabel Pasarín34, Luis Rajmil14, Carme Borrell34 and Barbara Starfield5

Author Affiliations

1 Catalan Agency for Health Information, Assessment and Quality (CAHIAQ), Barcelona, Spain

2 National Research and Technology Council (CONICET), Córdoba, Argentina

3 Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

4 CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain

5 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2011, 11:285  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-285

Published: 9 May 2011

Abstract

Background

The Primary Care Assessment Tool (PCAT) is an interesting set of tools for primary care research. A very short version could inform policy makers about consumer experiences with primary care (PC) through health surveys. This work aimed to investigate the validity and reliability of a selection of items from the child short edition (CS) of the PCAT.

Methods

A 24 item questionnaire permitted the identification of a regular source of care and the assessment of the key attributes of first contact, ongoing care over time, coordination, services available and services received (comprehensiveness), and cultural competence. Structural validity, reliability, and construct validity were assessed using responses from 2,200 parents of a representative sample of the population aged 0 to 14 years in Catalonia (Spain) who participated in the 2006 Health Survey. Structural validity was analyzed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and reliability was assessed using Cronbach's alpha. Construct validity was assessed using linear regression analysis between PC experience scores and a measure of overall user satisfaction with healthcare services.

Results

A total of 2,095 (95.2%) parents provided useable responses on PC. After Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), the best fitting model was a 5-factor model in which the original dimensions of first contact and ongoing care were collapsed into one. The CFA also showed a second order factor onto which all domains except services available loaded (root mean square error of approximation = 0.000; comparative fit index = 1.00). Cronbach's alpha values for one of the original scales (first-contact) was poor (alpha < 0.50), but improved using the modified factor structure (alpha > 0.70). Scores on the scales were correlated with satisfaction with healthcare services (p < 0.01), thereby providing some preliminary evidence of construct validity.

Conclusions

This very short questionnaire obtained from the PCAT-CE yields information about five attributes of PC and a summary score. It has shown evidence of validity and reliability for judgments about experiences with primary care overall. If space on surveys is at a premium, the instrument could be useful as a measure of PC experiences.