448 C. O. Larson et a!.
health and satisfaction. The health variable
most predictive of patient satisfaction with the
Systematic research on what occurs during health care experience was overall self-perceived
health-care encounters has increased as pressure health. This suggests that the experience of ill
on the health-care community to improve the health may be one of the most salient factors in
quality of care in measurable ways has increased. patients' level of satisfaction with the care. An
While most providers have a sincere interest to interesting question is whether, and to what
improve the care of patients in treatment, the extent, providers may have influenced patients'
need for this kind of research in the USA has also perceptions of their health and, therefore,
been driven by external factors such as increased satisfaction.
competition and fear of litigation . As a In addition to the importance of the provider's
consequence, quality is now being measured communication style and the social milieu for
not only by patients' biological health outcomes, developing a relationship that fosters patient
but also by their functional health status, their learning, it is necessary to identify the best
perceived health benefit and judgments of educational strategies and techniques. Though
satisfaction with the care received [2,3]. One much research has been done, the results are not
vital aspect of quality is the extent to which clear regarding best practices to educate patients
information needs of patients and their family to influence their health knowledge, attitudes
members are met. A crucial ingredient, there- about health care, personal health care practices,
fore, in the aim of optimizing the quality of and health care utilization. It has been shown
services provided, is to identify the most impor- that as information increases in complexity and
tant information for patients to know and the is conveyed under less than optimal circum-
most effective means of communication. stances (e.g. when the person experiences a
Much of the research which studies the great deal of stress), recall regarding recom-
interaction between healthcare professionals mended health behavior decreases . Merely
and patients, has focused on two components: relaying information to someone does not ensure
patient satisfaction with the provider-patient that it will be remembered. It has also been
relationship and patient education to build shown that computer systems, which convey
knowledge and influence health behavior. One information and provide social support in the
study has shown that patients were more home at any time and at the user's pace, lead to
satisfied with physicians who provide counseling improved quality of life and reduced use of
for psychosocial issues and create an atmosphere health service .
characterized by interest and friendliness than It is believed that patient satisfaction can be
with those physicians who discuss only biome- enhanced and subsequent health behavior
dical issues and create an atmosphere of physi- improved, if providers create an environment
cian dominance . Therefore, the manner and that fosters dialogue between the health profes-
style in which the provider delivers information sional and the patient that enables them to
can affect the patient's view of the physician. identify the most important and relevant infor-
This perception may influence both the patient's" mation to transmit to patients and families. It
satisfaction and health status. Although it is can be hypothesized that understanding and
generally believed that satisfaction and health meeting patients "need to know"—through
status are related, the nature of this relationship communicating important information desired
is not clear. One study showed that patients were by the patient—can produce more knowledge-
satisfied with their care even though they were in able and competent patients who are in a better
poor health , while other studies have demon- position to assist their own recovery from illness
strated a positive association between patients' and manage their own health. While these
satisfaction and patients' functional health [6,7], factors may vary by diagnostic conditions and
self-perceived health and emotional health . It patient characteristics there is growing evidence
is possible that the provider's relationship with that the impact of information may be helpful
the patient mediates this effect. Hall  con-
ducted a longitudinal study and found tentative .
evidence that there is a causal link between The present study examined one aspect of the
provider-patient information exchange process
Therelationshipbetween patients' information needs and satisfaction with hospital care 449
with a sample of patients diagnosed with acute tion they felt was important to know about their
myocardial infarction (MI). The purpose was to illness, treatment and recovery. The satisfaction
identify topics that patients consider important questions described twelve aspects of the process
for them to know about their illness, and how of care to which respondents indicated their level
their level of satisfaction and health status is of satisfaction with the quality of care provided
affected by how well providers communicate on a five point scale where 5 = excellent,
information on these topics. 4 = very good, 3 = good, 2 = fair, and
1 = poor. In addition, two satisfaction questions
ascertained respondents' future intentions of
recommending or returning to the hospital for
Sample: Two hundred fifty eight acute MI care if it was needed. Importance questions were
patients who were admitted to three community derived from a content analysis of information
hospitals in the Southeast region of the US were gathered from focus groups and personal inter-
eligible to participate in the study. Screening to views with patients about hospital quality. These
confirm acute MI was based on the following: (a) areas of importance were framed into questions
enzyme evidence of myocardial necrosis as that depicted different types of information
manifested by an increase in CPK total to two given to patients throughout the process of an
times the upper limit of normal; (b) electro- episode of care. Respondents indicated how
cardiograms (i.e. EKG results 2 mm ST eleva- important each type of information was to
tion in two continuous chest leads or 1 mm ST them on a five point scale i.e. 5 = essential,
elevation in two continuous limb leads), and 4 = very important, 3 = important, 2 = slightly
chest pain typical for angina and myocardial important, and 1 = not important (see Appen-
ischemia (i.e. anterior or left arm pain described dix). In an attempt to obtain information from
as pressure or heavy sensation). Eligibility was all patients, the nonrespondents were mailed a
based on a discharge diagnosis of acute MI and postcard reminder and another copy of the
elevated enzymes, or documented evidence of questionnaire within four weeks of the first
EKG abnormalities consistent with acute MI. Of mailing.
the total sample, 167 patients who responded to Eight weeks post discharge, patients were
a questionnaire administered eight weeks post mailed a different questionnaire that assessed
discharge were included in the analysis. patients' functional health status, perceptions of
Data Collection: Data utilized in the present the overall quality of their life, and helpfulness of
study were gathered from the medical record, information provided to them by their physi-
and patients' responses to questionnaires. The cians and other medical staff. The questions that
medical record data were gathered by nurses asked patients to rate the helpfulness of informa-
experienced in cardiac care who were trained to tion given to them were the same items on which
extract medical record information. The patient importance ratings were obtained two weeks
self-report information was gathered at two post discharge (see Appendix). Nonrespondents
points in time, two and eight weeks post were mailed a postcard reminder and a second
discharge. The questionnaires were designed to questionnaire within two weeks. Patients who
gather the most salient information at appro- had not responded by the thirteenth week post
priate time intervals following discharge. The discharge were contacted by phone and a trained
primary focus of the two week questionnaire was interviewer obtained the information from the
to gather perceptions regarding the hospital patients and completed the questionnaire at that
experience, e.g. ratings of satisfaction, impor- time. This process resulted in a 65% response
tance and intentions etc. The eight week ques- rate for the two week post discharge survey and
tionnaire focused predominantly on health, an 88% response rate for the eight-week post
clinical status and the extent to which help was discharge survey. Patients were eliminated from
needed and received. Two weeks post discharge, the study if they met any of the following
patients were mailed self-administered question- conditions: deceased (32); severely incapacitated
naires that contained a series of questions that (9); rehospitalized (8); or other problems (13)
assessed patients' satisfaction with the hospital such as no contact address or telephone.
care they received, and identification of informa- Variables: The independent variable was a
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450 C. O. Larson et al.
measure of information needs met. Scoring was were computed on the five scales, (constructed
based on patients' ratings of the degree to which from individual Likert response items) which
they received helpful information on 18 impor- were used in subsequent analyses. The results
tant topics (e.g. chances of another heart attack, were: (1) psychosocial functioning (three items,
information on heart disease etc.). The depen- alpha = 0.62); (2) physical functioning (three
dent variables included three functional health items, alpha = 0.72); (3) overall satisfaction (12
and well-being measures (i.e. physical function- items, alpha = 0.87); (4) global satisfaction (two
ing, psychosocial functioning, and overall qual- items, alpha = 0.76); and (5) information needs
ity of life) and three patient satisfaction (18 items, alpha = 0.95). All scales were trans-
measures (i.e. overall satisfaction with hospital formed to a 0-100 response format for ease of
care, global satisfaction and perceived health interpretation; a score of 0 represents the least
benefit). Six patient characteristic variables were positive response and 100 represents the most
used as covariates (or control variables); these positive response. Last, multiple linear regres-
measured patient health status (i.e. acute MI sion analyses were performed to evaluate the
severity, comorbidity, dyspnea, angina) and independent contribution of the helpfulness of
patient demographics (i.e. age and gender). See information provided to patients (i.e. informa-
Appendix for more specific operational defini- tion needs met) to their functional health status
tions. and overall satisfaction with the care received.
Statistical Procedures: First, univariate ana- Logistic regression analyses were performed to
lyses were performed to: (a) describe the patient evaluate how well information provided to
population; (b) evaluate the relative importance patients predicted two single ordinal responses,
of different types of information to meet patients' perceptions of quality of life and their
patients' needs; and (c) determine which areas perceived health benefit.
of information, ranked as important to know by
patients, were most likely to not be met by
providers. Second, a multivariate analysis was RESULTS
performed to determine if the outcome indica-
tors vary by the patient characteristics and
should consequently be used as covariates. A Table 1 displays descriptive statistics on
multiple analysis of variance was computed to patient characteristics, patient health status and
determine if significant differences exist for each satisfaction variables. Patients' mean age was 63
outcome indicator. Third, reliability coefficients and 70% were males. Only 18% of the acute MI
TABLE 1. Patient characteristics, satisfaction and health statns: nnirariate results for acute MI
patients (n » 167)
Mean Percentage 95% Confidence interval
Age 63 61.14-64.86
Gender % male 70% 63.1%-76.9%
AMI severity: % medium + high 18% 12.2%-23.8%
Comorbidity: % medium + high
Dyspnea: % medium + high
Angina: % medium + high
Information needs met 61.68 58.69-64.67
Satisfaction with total process 79.98 76.82-83.14
Global satisfaction 93.77 90.99-96.55
Perceived health benefit 64.85 59.86-69.84
Health status 69.03 ¿Mejor media y desviación? 64.9-73.16
Psychosocial function scale 74.41 ¿Media y Error Estandard? 58.06-78.40
Physical function scale 62.05 ¿Intervalos de confianza? 58.23-65.87
Therelationshipbetween patients' information needs and satisfaction with hospital care 451
patients were classified as "medium" or "high" standing what the treatment will be like. The
on severity but larger proportions had substan- areas where patients' information needs were not
tial comorbidity (38%) and suffered from met were: (1) how to hold the business, family
dyspnea (35%) and angina (36%). Patients' and finances together; (2) knowing what
ratings of satisfaction with the process of care expenses insurance will cover; (3) stopping
were almost at 80% of the maximum achievable depression quickly; (4) finding out where the
score (79.98 on 0-100 scale) and for global most up to date medicine is being practiced; and
satisfaction was at over 90% of the maximum (5) training on how to recognize another heart
achievable score (93.77 on a 0-100 scale); attack.
however patients' ratings of health benefit were
only 65% of maximum and meeting information
Communication of essential information
needs were even lower averaging only 62% of the
best possible score. Measures of health status Several information areas that were rated as
were also quite low, with quality of life averaging "inessential" received large percentages of "no
69 and both psychosocial and physical function help" or "made it worse" ratings. For example,
at 62 on a 0-100 scale. the top ranked information need area was to
The univariate results, shown in Table 2, learn "what the chances are of another heart
indicated that the five areas where information attack?" Twenty percent of patients indicated
needs were rated most important were: (1) what they learned was either not helpful or
knowing the chances of another heart attack; harmful. Similarly, the third ranked information
(2) knowing the questions to ask a doctor about need area was for "training on how to recognize
heart disease; (3) training on how to recognize another heart attack" and one in five patients
another heart attack; (4) knowing what the (20.3%) rated this "no help"/"made it worse".
diagnosis of heart attack means; and (5) under- Even less success on meeting information needs
TABLE 2. Rank order of information rated as most essential and areas wbere no help was gives or made it worse
Two weeks post discharge Eight weeks post discharge
% rated % rated
Rank Area of information need information "essential" "No help" or "made it worse"
1 What the chances are of another heart 36.8 20.0
2 What questions to ask a doctor about heart 33.0 14.6
3 Training on how torecognizeanother heart 32.1 20.3
4 What the diagnosis of heart attack means 31.5 9.0
5 Understanding what the treatment will be 31.3 9.9
6 Finding where the most up to date medicine 29.5 30.6
is being practiced
7 Will my insurance cover the costs and what 25.0 44.8
if it does not?
8 Stopping depression quickly 24.4 35.2
9 How to find someone to give me 22.2 14.9
10 How to hold the business, family and 19.3 61.4
Note: The other items were (a) how to get the family into a good counselling program; (b) dealing with
changes in roles of family members; (c) making sure your family doesn't feel shut out; (d) what does the future
hold; (e) what side effects to expect and watch out for, (f) how to get the best recovery possible; (g) help with
decisions on when and whether to have surgery or other medical procedures; and (h) how close to your previous
state of health you can expect to return.
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452 C. O. Larson et al.
was observed for other top ten areas such as p < 0.01), and physical functioning
"stopping depression quickly" and information 31.21, /?<0.01). Significant differences were
on insurance cover and financial planning. also observed by level of dyspnea on two out-
comes: psychosocial functioning (F3H8 = 3.67,
p < 0.01) and perceived health benefit
Relationships between covariates and outcomes
Traducción: Dividiremos a los (F3,i2i = 2.67, p < 0.05). In addition there was
pacientes en grupitos (según A multiple analysis of variance was conducted a significant difference by level of comorbidity
variables de control) y esperemos for patients' perceptions of the quality of life
to determine how the outcome indicators (i.e.
que variables de resultado
tengan valores similares en cadasatisfaction with care, global satisfaction, per- (Fi,ii7 = 4.54, p < 0.05). Differences by gender
uno de ellos. ceived health benefit, quality of life, psychosocial were found to be significant only for physical
Como no ha sido así, no pasa and physical function) vary by each patient functioning (F, ] 2 o = 4.92, p < 0.05). Differ-
nada... para ello tenemos el characteristic that was used as a covariate (i.e. ences by age groups were found to be significant
análisis multivariante que nos age, gender, severity of illness, level of comor- for global satisfaction ( F ^ = 5.18, p < 0.01).
permite sortear la dificultad.
bidity, level of angina and dyspnea). The results, No significant differences were found by level of
summarized in Table 3, indicated that there were severity of illness. The covariates relationship
overall significant differences for global satisfac- with dependent variables are shown in Table 3.
tion (Fio,63 = 2.16, p < 0.03), physical function- Included in the multiple analysis of variance
ing (Fio,i2o = 16.45, p < 0.01), psychosocial was the information needs met variable to
functioning (FIO.IIS = 8.80, p < 0.01), health determine the extent to which patient character-
benefit (Fi0>i2i = 3.47, p < .01), and quality of istics may vary by this independent variable. No
life (Fio.in = 3.93, p < 0.01). There were sig- significant differences were found.
nificant differences by level of angina on three It is interesting to note that ratings of overall
outcomes: psychosocial functioning (F2,n8 = satisfaction were insensitive to any patient
7.64, /><0.01), quality of life (F^,? = 4.54, characteristics. A similar short form overall
TABLE 3. Ontcomes by patient characteristics used as covariates for regression model
health Quality of Physical Psychosocial total Global
benefit life function function process satisfaction
<60 66.79 (29.57) 68.52 (22.82) 66.02 (26.79) 75.59 (25.39) 82.01(11.21) 97.22 (9.69)
60-69 56.52 (28.10) 68.99(18.03) 61.59(23.60) 77.18(23.36) 75.81 (9.46) 88.14(20.30)
70 + 69.54(20.13) 69.64(20.13) 57.80(22.54) 70.88 (29.07) 82.36 (14.25) 94.79 (8.13)
Male 64.95(28.62) 70.40(19.91) 53.30(22.54) 69.39(26.19) 81.55(10.99) 93.08(15.21)
Female 64.58(22.06) 65.58(22.06) 63.77(25.38) 75.33(25.05) 79.89(16.53) 96.51(8.24)
Acute Ml severity
Low 64.72(29.08) 68.95(21.18) 62.77(25.37) 75.33(25.05) 80.18(15.54) 93.33(14.12)
Medium + high 63.39(29.25) 67.24(18.63) 51.43(31.81) 66.71(31.81) 83.91(10.15) 99.51(2.02)
None + mild 66.18(28.29) 71.57(17.49) 64.14(25.89) 76.08(25.76) 81.98(12.61) 95.52(9.81)
Medium + high 62.69(30.08) 64.72(24.57) 58.47(24.46) 71.58(26.84) 78.01(18.09) 91.22(17.56)
Low 70.51 (27.06) 73.95(19.63) 74.09 (20.58) 84.95 (19.23) 81.65(13.88) 94.44 (10.36)
Medium 66.67 (22.82) 64.17(11.18) 52.18(13.28) 69.38 (22.68) 79.86(11.80) 97.22(4.10)
High 44.83 (27.85) 53.45 (23.72) 29.44(17.19) 48.70 (29.54) 78.18(21.43) 92.16(22.53)
None 75.00(24.15) 68.82(17.61) 69.76 (23.77) 76.25 (22.43) 78.57 (13.54) 93.33(14.16)
Low 71.10(28.98) 75.68 (19.35) 72.04(20.17) 86.13(18.39) 82.07(14.12) 94.15(10.70)
Medium 56.45 (28.84) 64.52 (23.46) 49.22(21.98) 66.80(26.81) 78.23 (19.72) 95.83 (5.42)
High 44.23 (21.57) 55.76(16.29) 39.42(25.12) 47.76 (27.23) 78.78 (22.86) 91.11(23.88)
Note: This table shows the mean scores (0-100 scale) and standard deviations of each outcome indicator by
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Therelationshipbetween patients' information needs and satisfaction with hospital care 453
satisfaction scale (identical to the one used here cial functioning after controlling for patient
with the exception of two items) has been shown characteristics.
to have reliable and valid psychometric proper-
ties with a more general patient population .
It may be that the scale is less sensitive to DISCUSSION
characteristics of subgroups of patients who The results clearly demonstrate that providing
have a similar clinical condition. acute MI patients with information about their
illness and recovery has a significant relationship
with their perceptions of the quality of their life,
Impact of communication on patient satisfaction
their satisfaction with hospital care, and the
and health status Trad: Y por fin, lo interesante
benefit of treatment. The top five most impor-
To determine the relationship between tant areas of information identified by acute MI
patients' ratings of how well their information patients involved building knowledge about the
needs were met and their satisfaction with care, disease and its treatment. It is noteworthy that
their perceived health benefit and functional among these areas, a substantial percentage
health status, after controlling for patient char- (20%) of patients' needs were not well met in
acteristics, series of multiple regression analyses receiving information about how to recognize
were performed on the multi-item outcome another heart attack, and knowing the chances
scales and logistic regression analyses were of having another heart attack. Other topics
performed on the two single item outcome where patients' information needs were not well
indicators. As shown in Table 4, meeting met concerned psychosocial issues and finances.
patients' information needs had the greatest It is generally believed that psychosocial con-
effect on patients' satisfaction with the overall cerns can elevate the patients' level of stress and
process of care, patients' global satisfaction, and may adversely influence their perceptions of
patients' perceived level of health benefit and health and overall quality of life .
quality of life. In each case, meeting information The study reported herein has important
needs demonstrated a substantial (weights limitations that should be noted. First, the
ranged from 0.29 to 0.39) and statistically generalizability of the findings may be limited
significant (p < 0.01) relationship to explaining because the population observed represents just
variation on these measures of satisfaction and one clinical condition cared for in three hospi-
health. Meeting information needs made no tals. Second, causal inferences are restricted
independent contribution to patients' percep- because of the non-experimental nature of the
tions of their physical functioning or psychoso- design and the timing of measurements of the 2 resultados interesantes
Por tanto, ni se molesta en enseñar los resultados. El primero sin variables
de control, el segundo
TABLE 4. Predictors of patient outcome: variables making independent contribution to explaining satisfaction con una sola variable
and general health status outcomes de control (comorbilidad)
Variable Predictor estimates t P R2
Satisfaction with total Information needs met
process (0-100 scale) (0-100 scale) 0.37 3.185 0.002 17% 4
Global satisfaction Information needs met 0.24 2.10 0.04 10% R
(0-100 scale) (0-100 scale) e
Comorbidity -0.23 -1.96 0.05 g
(1-4 scale) r
Physical function Age (years) -0.16 -2.139 0.01 55% e
(0-100 scale) s
Gender (male) 0.15 -2.630 0.01 i
-9.268 0.001 o
Angina -0.70 n
Psychosocial function Angina -0.50 -5.43 0.001 33% e
(0-100 scale) (1-3 scale) s
454 C. O. Larson et al.
independent and dependent variables. Third, the Psychological distress and patient satisfaction.
lack of substantive associations between infor- Medical Care 1982; 20: 373.
9. Hall J A, Milburn M A and Epstein A M, A
mation needs met and physical and psychosocial causal model of health status and satisfaction
functioning may be explained by the relatively with medical care. Medical Care 1993; 31: 84.
low alpha coefficients. Fourth, although the 10. Grover G, Berkowitz C D and Lewis R J,
concept of meeting information needs is old, Parental recall after a visit to the emergency
the creation of valid and reliable measures of this department. Clinical Pediatrics 1994; 4: 194-201.
11. Gustafson D, Hawkins R, Pingree S, Boberg E
critical aspect of doctor-patient communication and Bricker E, The impact of computer support
is new. The independent variable, information on HIV infected individuals. Proceedings of the
needs met, had good psychometric properties XVII Annual Meeting of the American Medical
(i.e. variability, reliability of 0.95) but is a new Informatics Association, Washington, DC,
measure that has not been used in other settings. November 1994.
12. Hays R D, Larson C, Nelson E C and Batalden
Despite the design limitations listed above, P B, Hospital quality trends: a short form patient
this study's results are compelling. The findings based measure. Medical Care 1991; 29: 661.
suggest that clinicians can have a positive 13. Nelson E C, Ferreira P L, Cleary P D, Gustafson
influence on their patients' perceptions of both D and Wasson J H, Do patients health status
quality of life and health benefit even among reports predict future hospital stays for patients
with an acute myocardial infarction? Family
patients with variations in clinical status by Practice Research Journal 1994; 14: 119.
identifying the information that is important to 14. O'Connor G T, Plume S K and Olmstead E M,
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clear, understandable and useful manner. associated with coronary artery bypass graft
surgery. Circulation 1992; 85: 21102-21118.
15. Greenfield S, Apolone G, McNeil B J and Cleary
P D, The importance of coexistent disease in the
occurrence of postoperative complications and
one-year recovery in patients undergoing total
hip replacement comorbidity and outcomes after
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The relationship between patients' information needs and satisfaction with hospital care 455
APPENDIX own age? (c) Do you have to stop for breath
when walking at your own pace on level ground?
Description of variables used in analysis (d) Do you have to stop for breath when you are
and sources of data washing or dressing? This variable was based on
the work of Cleary et al. [16,17].
Functional outcomes and well being:
Age: age in years. Gender: male or female.
Physical functioning . The physical
functioning scale ranged from 0 to 100 with
Health status covariates:
higher scores indicating better function. The
scoring was based on three questions each of
Acute MI severity level . Acute MI
which had five levels of response: (a) What was
severity was a three-level index based on the
the most strenuous level of physical activity you
number and nature of cariac problems (i.e.
could do for at least two minutes? (b) During the
high = cardiogenic shock, or cardiopulmonary
past four weeks, how much difficulty did you
arrest; medium = CHF complications,
have doing your daily work, both inside and
ventricular arrhythmia, third degree block or
outside the house, because of your physical
SVT; and low = none of the above. This ordinal
health or emotional problems? (c) During the
variable was based on prior work performed by
past two weeks, how much bodily pain have you
O'Connor et al. 
generally had? This scale was based on the work
of Nelson and Ware et al. .
Comorbidity level . The comorbidity
index, known as the Index of Co-Existent
Psychosocial functioning . The
Disease (ICED), classifies patients into four
psychosocial functioning scale ranged from 0 to
levels based on the number and nature of
100 with higher scores indicating better function.
diseases and level of physical impairment The scoring was based on three questions each of
associated with the disease. This ordinal which hadfivelevels of response: (a) How much
variable was based on the work of Greenfield, have you been bothered by emotional problems
etal. . which as feeling unhappy, anxious, depressed,
irritable? (b) Has your heart condition interfered
Angina scale . The angina scale ranged with visiting relatives or friends? (c) Has your
from 1 to 3 with higher numbers indicating more heart condition interfered with participating in
chest pain. Patients were classified based on their community activities such as religious services,
answers to four yes/no questions: (a) Do you social activities, or volunteer work? This work
ever have any pain or discomfort in your chest? was based on the work of Nelson et al.  and
(b) If no, do you ever have any pressure or Ware et al. .
heaviness in your chest? (c) Do you have this
pain, discomfort, pressure, or heaviness when
you walk uphill or hurry? (d) Do you have these Satisfaction with care:
symptoms at an ordinary pace on level ground?
This variable was based on the work of Cleary et Satisfaction with total process. The overall
al. [16,17]. satisfaction scale ranged from 0 to 100 with
higher scores indicating greater satisfaction with
Dyspnea scale . The dyspnea scale ranged the hospital care. The scoring was based on
from 1 to 4 with higher numbers indicating more twelve questions which hadfiveresponse choices
shortness of breath. Patients were classified (5 = excellent, 4 = very good, 3 = good,
based on their answers to four yes/no 2 = fair, 1 = poor). The questions represented
questions: (a) Are you troubled by shortness of the following areas of care: (1) efficiency of the
breath when hurrying on level ground or admitting procedure; (2) coordination of care;
walking up a slight hill? (b) Do you get short of (3) ease of getting information; (4) attention of
breath when walking with other people your nurses to your condition; (5) attention of doctor
456 C. O. Larson et al.
to your condition; (6) how well housekeeping Quality of life. This single question "Overall
staff did their jobs; (7) skill of IV starters; (8) how arc things going for you?" hasfiveresponse
restfulnes.s of atmosphere; (9) discharge choices which were converted to a 0 to 100 scale.
instructions; (10) explanations about costs and The work was based on the work of Nelson et al.
how to handle your hospital bills; (11) pain .
management; and (12) coordination of transfers.
This work was based on the work of Nelson et al.
 and Meterko et al. .
Global satisfaction. The global satisfaction
Information questions—importance ratings and
•scale consisted of the following two questions:
needs met scale
(1) Would you recommend this hospital to your
family and friends if they needed hospital care? Eighteen importance of information ratings
(2) How likely would you be to return to this were on a five-point scale showing the impor-
hospital if you ever need to be hospitalized tance of each type of information. The response
again? The first question had four response categories were 5 = essential, 4 = very impor-
choices and the second question had seven tant, 3 = important, 2 = slightly important,
response choices that were transformed to a 0 1 = not important.
The information needs met scale ranged from
to 100 scale for ease of interpretation. This scale
was based on the work of Nelson et al. . 0 to 100 with higher scores indicating greater
help received from the information given. The
Perceived health benefit. This single question scoring was based on eighteen items that had five
"How much were you helped by this response choices indicating the amount of help
hospitaUzation?" has five response choices the patient received from the information com-
which were converted to a 0 to 100 scale. This municated by the medical professionals, i.e.
work was based on the work of Nelson et al.  enormous help, quite a bit of help, some help,
and Meterko et al. . no help, made it worse.