Association Between Satisfaction and Familiarity with Physician Among New Adult Members


William C Wells, PhD; Dorothy Ries Faison Meder, MFA, EMBA

Winter 2007 - Volume 11 Number 1

Proprietary studies have found that new Kaiser Permanente (KP) members are generally less satisfied than established members with the health care they receive. Lack of familiarity between the patient and his/her primary care physician may be one cause of this lack of satisfaction.

A recent study of adults living in rural areas of the United States found that patients with relationships of three or more years with their health care physician tended to be more satisfied than those with shorter term relationships.1 A study of individuals living in the Netherlands also found that patient-physician familiarity was associated with patient satisfaction.2 Patient-physician familiarity can be measured in terms of continuity of care. A review of 22 published studies found a consistent association between higher patient satisfaction and greater continuity of care,3 while a review of 81 published studies found that greater continuity of care was generally associated with better preventive care and fewer hospitalizations.4

In this study, we measured the association between patient satisfaction and patient-physiciana familiarity for new adult commercial plan members of KP living in Hawaii. Administrative data was used to identify the first, second, third, fourth, or subsequent primary care visits of a member to a physician. Satisfaction with the visit was measured using the Patient Satisfaction Survey (PSat), which is routinely mailed to members who have recently visited a KP physician for health care.


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