Important attributes of quality health care: consumer perspectives.
PURPOSE:Despite extensive research on defining and measuring health care quality, little attention has been given to consumers' perspectives of high-quality health care. The purposes of this study were to (a) identify the importance to consumers of attributes of health care quality and nursing care quality, and (b) examine the relationship of consumer perspectives to health status and selected demographic variables. DESIGN:Exploratory. Consumers (N = 239) were recruited from waiting rooms of clinics and in neighborhoods of a large metropolitan area in the Midwestern United States that included both urban and suburban populations. METHODS:Participants completed the Quality Health Care Questionnaire (QHCQ) and the SF-36 Health Survey. On the QHCQ, they rated the importance of 27 attributes of health care and nursing care quality. The SF-36 is a 36-item instrument for measuring health status in eight general areas. FINDINGS:The most important indicators of high-quality nursing care to consumers were: being cared for by nurses who are up-to-date and well informed; being able to communicate with the nurse; spending enough time with the nurse and not feeling rushed during the visit; having a nurse teach about the illness, medications, treatments, and staying healthy; and being able to call a nurse with questions. The lowest-rated item was having an opportunity to be cared for by nurse practitioners. Ratings differed by race, age, years of education, income, and health status. CONCLUSIONS:The importance that consumers place on teaching by the nurse was emphasized, particularly among people with less education, low income levels, and chronic illnesses.
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