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Research Letter
December 2007

Quality of Care From a Patient’s Perspective

Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(12):1589-1603. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.12.1592

A growing number of measures, such as physician performance incentives, aim to improve the quality of health care in the United States. Patients and physicians, however, differ in their determination of quality of care and patient satisfaction.1,2 The 2001 Institute of Medicine's Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century3 established guidelines for improving the current health care system to better meet patient needs. These guidelines provided a basis to define quality of care from a patient's perspective in an outpatient, university-based, dermatology setting.

Our survey, as approved by the institutional review board, was administered to patients older than 18 years who were waiting for their appointment in the dermatology outpatient clinic at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The survey asked participants to indicate what they considered to be most important to the quality of their care and to rate the importance of 28 aspects of their overall care. Level of importance was rated on a 5-point scale: 1, not important; 2, of little importance; 3, no opinion; 4, important; and 5, very important. The 28 aspects of care were grouped into 5 categories: treatment, access to care, professional interactions, follow-up care, and environment of care. Participants were asked to also use a 5-point scale to rank these 5 categories of care from 1, most important, to 5, least important to the quality of their health care.