We investigated the congruence between emergency department (ED) personnel estimations of patient satisfaction and actual patient satisfaction. Actual patient satisfaction was assessed via telephone interview. Before the findings were disseminated, ED personnel were asked to "predict" the results by estimating the average rating they believed patients gave for each of the 22 indicators. Surveys were obtained from 478 of 1,139 (42.1%) patients and 59 of 76 (77.6%) ED personnel. ED personnel consistently estimated average satisfaction scores to be significantly lower than what patients actually reported across 19 of the 22 indicators. ED personnel grossly overestimated average patient length of stay (LOS) (5.7 h vs. 3.5 h actual). Results suggest that ED personnel consistently estimated patients to be less satisfied than they actually were across multiple domains. Moreover, ED personnel estimated average LOS to be more than 2 h longer than patients' actual LOS. Hypotheses for why this bias occurred are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/edwin_boudreaux/59/