The authors examined how satisfied patients and residents were before and after the restructuring of the general medicine clinic at a large urban teaching hospital in 1985; the change to à longitudinal care clinic was made to provide greater continuity of care, more consistent access of residents to attending physicians, and a more structured educational curriculum. Questionnaires to assess satisfaction were administered three weeks before and ten months after the change to all 80 of the second- and third-year residents. A convenience sample of 310 patients seen during a two-week period before the change and another such sample of 267 patients seen during a two-week period ten months after the change comprised the patients who completed a patients’ satisfaction questionnaire. The residents were significantly more satisfied with the quality of care, functioning, and educational value of the new longitudinal care clinic. Their average overall rating of satisfaction (on a scale where 1 = completely dissatisfied and 5 = completely satisfied) increased from 2.3 to 3.7 (p < .001). Unexpectedly, the patients were “very satisfied” with both clinic models and their overall ratings changed little (4.5 before, 4.4 after). In addition, the patients’ and residents’ before-and-after perceptions of the quality of care delivered in the clinic differed substantially. These findings show that the longitudinal care clinic significantly enhanced the satisfaction of the residents but not of the patients. Furthermore, the data suggest that results from standardized patients’ satisfaction surveys may not accurately assess the quality of care being delivered.
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