OBJECTIVE: To investigate respondent satisfaction regarding SF-36 and EQ-5D and patients' perspectives concerning health outcome assessment within routine health care. METHODS: Eighteen Swedish hospitals participated in the study which included 30 patient intervention groups (e.g. education groups for patients with ischemic heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Patients responded to SF-36 and EQ-5D before and after ordinary interventions (n = 463), and then completed an evaluation form. RESULTS: Regarding respondent satisfaction, most patients found both questionnaires easy to understand (70% vs. 75% for SF-36 and EQ-5D respectively), easy to respond to (54% vs. 60%), and that they gave the ability of describing their health in a comprehensive way (68% for both). Health outcome assessment in routine health care was perceived as valuable by 57% of the patients, while 4% disapproved. Most patients (68%) considered both questionnaires equally suitable; 25% preferred SF-36 and 8% EQ-5D. Among those who were more satisfied with a short questionnaire (EQ-5D), several still preferred a longer and more comprehensive questionnaire (SF-36). CONCLUSION: Health outcome assessment within routine health care seems to be acceptable, and even appreciated, by patients. Questionnaire length and ease of response were not found to be crucial arguments in choosing between SF-36 and EQ-5D.