Are measures of patient satisfaction hopelessly flawed?BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4783 (Published 12 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4783
All rapid responses
In her editorial on the 'usefulness' of measures of patient
satisfaction Haggerty uses a common sense definition of satisfaction, i.e.
" a judgment about whether expectations were met."  Haggerty qualifies
this seemingly one-way influence by quoting the Health Technology
Assessment review which highlighted that patient satisfaction is
influenced by varying standards, different expectations, the patient's
disposition, time since care, and previous experience. 
I think there
are more many questions around defining satisfaction; some of these were
raised more than thirty years ago.  First, some believe there is
still a lack of consensus on the definition of the concept of
satisfaction,  and secondly, that satisfaction is a multidimensional
concept determined by a variety of factors.  Thirdly, many
satisfaction studies lack a conceptual or theoretical basis. [6-9]
Consequently different researchers have argued that satisfaction studies
should not be used to allocate resources. [10-14]
are unlikely to evaluate care in terms of satisfaction as highlighted by
Staniszewska and Ahmed.  Without identifying the theoretical
foundation of the concept of (patient) satisfaction it is debatable how we
can link it usefully to the quality of the services provided.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
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Competing interests: No competing interests