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Open Access Research article

Determinants of satisfaction with health care provider interactions at health centres in central Ethiopia: a cross sectional study

Zewdie Birhanu1, Tsion Assefa1, Mirkuzie Woldie2* and Sudhakar Morankar1

Author Affiliations

1 Jimma University, Public Health Faculty, Department of Health Education and Behavioural Sciences, Jimma, Ethiopia

2 Jimma University, Public Health Faculty, Department of Health Services Management, Jimma, Ethiopia

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:78  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-78

Published: 24 March 2010

Abstract

Background

In primary health care, provider-patient interaction is fundamental platform and critically affects service delivery. Nevertheless, it is often ignored in medical research and practice and it is infrequently subjected to scientific inquiry, particularly in Ethiopia. This study aimed to assess patient satisfaction with health care provider interactions and its influencing factors among out-patients at health centers in West Shoa, Central Ethiopia.

Methods

A cross sectional facility based study was conducted on 768 out-patients of six health centers in West Shoa Zone, Central Ethiopia. The total sample size was allocated to each of the six health centers based on patient flow during the ten days prior to the start of data collection. Pre-tested instruments were used for data collection and the data were analyzed using SPSS version 16.0 statistical software. Factor score was computed for the items identified to represent the satisfaction scale by varimax rotation method. Using this regression factor score, multivariate linear regression analysis was performed and the effect of independent variables on the regression factor score was quantified.

Results

Seventy three percent of the respondents perceived that provider's empathy was good and 35% complained that providers were not technically competent enough. In addition, 82% of the respondents rated non-verbal communication by the providers to be good, very good or excellent on a five-point ordinal scale. Regardless of the process, only 34.1% of the patients implied that the consultations made a difference in understanding their illness and coping with it. Generally speaking, 62.6% of the patients reported that they have been satisfied with their visit. Perceived empathy, perceived technical competency, non-verbal communication, patient enablement, being told the name of once illness, type and frequency of visit, knowing the providers and educational status were main independent predictors of patient satisfaction in this study. Furthermore, very good empathy (Beta = -4.323), fair non-verbal communication (Beta = -0.188), fewer expectations met (Beta = -0.169) and disagreement to technical competency (Beta = -0.156) had greater negative influence on patient satisfaction. On the other hand, excellent non-verbal communication (Beta = 0.114) and being told the name of once illness (0.109) had pronounced positive influence on patient satisfaction.

Conclusion

The present study showed that interpersonal processes including perceived empathy, perceived technical competency, non-verbal communication and patient enablement significantly influence patient satisfaction. Therefore, health care providers should work towards improving the communication skill of their professionals along with having technically competent workers which could possibly affect the perception of the patient about all of the variables identified as independent predictors of patient satisfaction in this study.