Access remains a primary area of dissatisfaction
CALGARY, Dec. 7 /CNW/ - According to survey results released today by the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA), 62% of Albertans who received health care services in the province in the past year rated their satisfaction as 4 or 5 out of 5 on a 5-point scale. This is relatively unchanged from 60% in 2008 and significantly higher than 58% in 2006 and 52% in 2004. From the public's perspective access - the ease of obtaining health care services - continues to be the most important factor associated with their overall satisfaction with health care services received. Forty-eight per cent (48%) of Albertans who used the system rated access to health care services as easy (4 or 5 on a 5-point scale) in 2010. This is relatively unchanged from 46% in 2008 and significantly higher than 42% in 2003.
Satisfaction and Experience with Health Care Services: A Survey of Albertans 2010 measured responses from more than 5,000 Albertans on their actual experiences with overall quality, satisfaction and access with specific health services. It is the fifth such survey the HQCA has conducted since 2003 and the first done since Alberta Health Services was formed in May 2008. Where possible, the HQCA's independent survey compares the 2010 results with those from 2008, 2006, 2004 and 2003.
"Our survey is the first measure of patient satisfaction and experience with the new Alberta Health Services' structure," says chief executive officer Dr. John Cowell. "We know that from 2003 to 2008, our survey findings showed signs of improvement in several areas. The 2010 results are relatively unchanged from 2008. It is clear from the perspective of the citizens of Alberta that there is still a lot of work to be done."
While overall access remains the most important factor Albertans associate with overall satisfaction with health care services, other priority themes emerge as associated with Albertans' overall satisfaction with health care services received. These include:
- Quality of health services received - those who reported excellent or very good overall quality of health care services received were more likely to report overall satisfaction with health care service received.
- Satisfaction with personal family doctors - survey respondents who were satisfied or very satisfied with their family doctor were more likely to report overall satisfaction with health care services received.
- Coordination of care - those who reported excellent or very good coordination of overall efforts of health care professionals to provide health care services were more likely to report overall satisfaction with health care services received.
Factors associated with overall dissatisfaction with health care services include:
- Difficult access to health care services.
- Fair or poor overall quality of health care services.
- Dissatisfaction with services received from a family doctor.
Additional findings include:
- Satisfaction with family doctor services - 83% of respondents who have a personal family doctor are satisfied (4 or 5 out of 5) with the services they received. This is unchanged from 83% in 2008, 84% in 2006 and 2004.
- Family doctor setting - 59% reported their family doctor was located in an office where they might see other doctors or health care professionals and medical files are shared among practitioners. This is up from 48% in 2008.
- Access to emergency departments - 54% of respondents who visited an emergency department rated access as easy (4 or 5 out of 5) in 2010. This is relatively unchanged from 51% in 2008 and significantly higher than 48% in 2006 and 46% in 2003.
- Leaving the emergency department before treatment - 30% of respondents considered leaving the emergency department before being seen and treated compared to 31% in 2008. 8% said they left before seeing the doctor or before care and treatment was finished.
- Access to specialist services - 62% of those that obtained specialist services rated access as easy (4 or 5 out of 5), similar to 2008 (59%) and significantly higher than 2004 (47%) and 2003 (42%).
- Handling complaints - 61% of those that had a serious complaint about any health care services they received were dissatisfied (1 or 2 out of 5) with how the complaint was handled. This is unchanged from 2008 and similar to 2006, 2004 and 2003.
The incidence of unexpected harm is down from 2008.
- Unexpected harm - 9% of respondents reported they or an immediate family member experienced unexpected harm, down from 10% in 2008 and 13% in 2006. If unexpected harm did occur, 34% reported they were told by their health care provider. This is the same as 2008 and down from 40% in 2006.
Population Research Laboratory of the University of Alberta conducted the 2010 survey. They did 5,010 telephone interviews with Albertans aged 18 years and older between February 24 and May 11, 2010. The response rate was 38% and the margin of error was comparable to previous years at ±1.5% 19 times out of 20.
"The results of this survey clearly show that from the perspective of Albertans, improving access and coordination of care will improve their overall health care experience," says Cowell.
"Our hope is these learnings are being shared and that Alberta Health and Wellness, Alberta Health Services, doctors, nurses and other health care providers will use this information to improve quality, access and satisfaction related to our health care system."
The technical report and a summary of the findings are available at www.hqca.ca. Dr. Cowell will be available for one-on-one interviews throughout the day. In addition, for those interested, Dr. Cowell and Alberta Health Services Acting President & CEO Dr. Chris Eagle will be available from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. at 1.877.353.9586 participant code 20647# to discuss findings relevant to Alberta Health Services.
For further information: For further information:
Pam Brandt, Communications Lead
403.297.4091 Cell 403.850.5067