The association between Asian patient race/ethnicity and lower satisfaction scores

Liao, Lillian; Chung, Sukyung; Altamirano, Jonathan; Garcia, Luis; Fassiotto, Magali; Maldonado, Bonnie; Heidenreich, Paul; Palaniappan, Latha

Patient satisfaction is increasingly being used to assess, and financially reward, provider performance. Previous studies suggest that race/ethnicity (R/E) may impact satisfaction, yet few practices adjust for patient R/E. The objective of this study is to examine R/E differences in patient satisfaction ratings and how these differences impact provider rankings.

Patient satisfaction survey data linked to electronic health records from two large outpatient centers in northern California – a non-profit organization of community-based clinics (Site A) and an academic medical center (Site B) – was collected and analyzed. Participants consisted of adult patients who received outpatient care at Site A from December 2010 to November 2014 and Site B from March 2013 to August 2014, and completed Press-Ganey Medical Practice Survey questionnaires (N = 216,392 (Site A) and 30,690 (Site B)). Self-reported non-Hispanic white (NHW), Black, Latino, and Asian patients were studied. For six questions each representing a survey subdomain, favorable ratings were defined as top-box (“very good”) compared to all other categories (“very poor,” “poor,” “fair,” and “good”). Using multivariable logistic regression with provider random effects, we assessed whether the likelihood of giving favorable ratings differed by patient R/E, adjusting for patient age and sex.

Asian, younger and female patients provided less favorable ratings than other R/E, older and male patients. After adjustment, Asian patients were less likely than NHW patients to provide top-box ratings to the overall assessment question “likelihood of recommending this practice to others” (Site A: Asian predicted probability (PP) 0.680, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.675–0.685 compared to NHW PP 0.820, 95% CI: 0.818–0.822; Site B: Asian PP 0.734, 95% CI: 0.733–0.736 compared to NHW PP 0.859, 95% CI: 0.859–0.859). The effect sizes for Asian R/E were greater than the effect sizes for older age and female sex. An absolute 3% decrease in mean composite score between providers serving different percentages of Asian patients translated to an absolute 40% drop in national ranking.

Patient satisfaction scores may need to be adjusted for patient R/E, particularly for providers caring for high panel percentages of Asian patients.

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BMC Health Services Research

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Published Here
September 22, 2023


Patient satisfaction, Race/ethnicity, Cultural differences