Patients' Attitudes towards Clinical Interviews in Various Fields of Medical Specialties

Document Type: Original Article(s)

Authors

Abstract

Background: Although the physician-patient relationship is of special significance for a proper diagnosis, few studies have been done to find out how successful these interactions are across various medical specialties. Common physician knowledge measured by a questionnaire tended to view fields such as psychiatry more successful in achieving patient satisfaction than other specialties. However, the validity of such assumptions has rarely been assessed scientifically. The current study was designed to find out whether medical specialties with greater mental/emotional orientation, such as psychiatry, are more successful in achieving patient satisfaction than specialties with a stronger manual orientation, such as surgery. Methods: A total of 27 physicians were randomly selected from different medical orientations. They were requested to use their common-sense to rate the specialties under study depending on whether they were more mentally oriented or manually inclined. They were also asked to indicate which groups of specialties are likely to be more successful in achieving patient satisfaction from clinical interactions. Another sample of 561 patients was selected from nine different medical specialty clinics based on a quota sample method. Patients were asked to complete a 15-item Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire following their clinical interviews with their physicians. Results: The results obtained from the patients did not fully corroborate the results of the physicians' questionnaire, which predicted greatest patient satisfaction from psychiatrists. Our results showed that pediatricians and gynecologists were more successful in achieving patient satisfaction (P<0.001) than psychiatrists. Conclusion: Patients’ satisfaction with different medical specialties is different from physicians’ common-sense assumptions. Patients were more satisfied with pediatricians and gynecologists rather than psychiatrists.