Using two different methods simultaneously, a surgical department assessed how former patients experienced the treatment they received. One method was based on a specifically designed questionnaire, while the other studied the patients negative experiences with regard to their treatment. The two approaches were compared in 610 respondents. The questionnaire yielded a more differentiated response pattern than did the other approach. While most of the respondents (88%) expressed overall satisfaction, the degree of satisfaction with information and supervision was not so high. The importance of the doctor's role was strongly emphasized, especially in the "negative experiences" approach. The use of this approach is dependent on the questions covering aspects of treatment actually experienced by the patient. The simultaneous use of both approaches will not only provide information about how patients experience essential aspects of their treatment but also what they consider to be the most problematic practical issues. This will encourage greater motivation among the staff to become involved in evaluation and improvement of treatment.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1998 Feb 28;118(6):947-89543816