Methods of surveying patients' satisfaction

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7075.227 (Published 18 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:227

Patients should help decide the wording and design of questionnaires

  1. Katherine T Gavin, Project director, development plana,
  2. Michael J Turner, Mastera
  1. a Coombe Women's Hospital, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland
  2. b Department of Community Medicine and Unit for Behavioural Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  3. c Hospital Authority, Hong Kong

    Editor-Geoff Cohen and colleagues report their study of the consistency of methods of surveying patients' satisfaction that are used in the evaluation of services.1 The authors suggest that choice of wording was one possible reason for the underestimation of dissatisfaction with certain elements of the service. They suggest cross calibration of satisfaction surveys as a method of improving the reliability of results.

    We recommend that patients should help decide on the wording and design of the questionnaire itself.2 In a recent survey of patients' satisfaction in this hospital, after consultation with our patient advisory council the proposed questionnaire was modified to make it more easily understandable. It is also important that patients, and not research staff or those who provide services, should determine the dimensions used to assess …

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