Arch Hellen Med, 32(5), September-October 2015, 629-635
Comparative analysis of outpatient satisfaction and willingness to pay: A contingent study
G. Pierrakos,1 D. Latsou,1 A. Goula,1 Μ. Stamouli,1 S. Dimakou,1 J. Yfantopoulos2
OBJECTIVE To investigate the satisfaction of outpatients in relation to the morning and afternoon consultation charges and their willingness to pay for better health services.
METHOD For the analysis 454 outpatients were enrolled, 372 of whom attended morning hospital clinics (RR: 57%) and 65 afternoon clinics (RR: 43%). The survey was conducted in 7 hospitals in Attica, by the method of random stratified sampling and personal interview, in February and March 2013. The questionnaire used included 53 closed questions, grouped into 9 dimensions, with responses based on a 5-point Likert scale. The internal consistency of the questionnaire was investigated with the Cronbach α coefficient. The difference in satisfaction between the morning and the afternoon clinics was investigated by the Mann-Whitney non-parametric test and correlation analysis with the Spearman coefficient.
RESULTS The mean age of the sample was 43.8±16.5 years and the majority were women (58.7%), with secondary education (48.8%) and a monthly household income of € 501–1,000 (42.2%). No statistically significant difference was detected in overall patient satisfaction with the health services between morning clinics (3.6±0.9) and afternoon clinics (3.7±0.9) (p=0.225). Difference was recorded in the waiting time, which was 15 minutes extra for the patients who attended the morning clinics. Of the total sample, 58.3% were unwilling to pay € 10 extra for better health services. The proportion of patients attending the morning and afternoon clinics who reported unwillingness to pay was 60% and 45.2%, respectively. In addition, 38.9% of patients attending morning clinics and 47.6% of those attending afternoon clinics stated that the consultation charge was expensive (p<=0.01). Positive correlation was demonstrated between satisfaction with the consultation charge and general satisfaction with the health services, which was lower in patients attending the afternoon clinics.
CONCLUSIONS There is no difference in the quality of the health services provided, between morning and afternoon clinics, despite the difference in consultation charge. Outpatients are, in general, unwilling to pay extra money for better health services. The patient-user of health services behaves as a "rational" consumer, which should be taken into consideration when planning the forthcoming reforms of primary health care.
Key words: Consultation charge, Patient satisfaction, Willingness to pay.