Health care that meets patient's expectations inevitably leads to a high level of patient satisfaction and in turn to an improved compliance of the patient with the prescribed management. Accordingly, health care services are more likely to improve. Numerous factors have been associated with patient satisfaction and studies have been done to investigate this relationship. However, not much work has been done in the field of dermatological service.
This study was designed to investigate the experience, satisfaction and expectations of adolescents of the dermatological services provided in the outpatient ambulatory facilities.
A cross-sectional study was conducted on 700 male and female secondary school students in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from the students. Data were related to the perception, expectation and satisfaction of a specific group of students. The overall and different items of satisfaction with the dermatological service including satisfaction with the physician providing the service, and satisfaction with the setting of the care were estimated.
The age range was 15-29 years with a mean of 18.1 ± 1.8 years. Of the 517 (74%) respondents, 267 (51.6%) males and 250 (48.4%) females, 457 (88.4%) were Saudis. With regard to expectation and preference, 385 (73.9%) would like to have dermatologists at each PHC center; 310 (59.5%) preferred a government setting for treatment. Statistically significant gender preference was observed (p<0.001); males preferred male dermatologist and females preferred female dermatologist, 142 (52.8 %) and 167 (66.5%), respectively. Only 14 (2.7 %) had no preference. As far as the experience with dermatological service was concerned, 273 (52.4%) had had one or more consultations, 225 (82.4%) had used the services for curative purpose, 91 (33.3%), 104 (38.1%) and 78 (28.6%) had used governmental, private and both facilities, respectively. Overall, 188 (68.9%) patients were satisfied, but of those who had availed themselves of the government services, 36 (42.3%) were not satisfied and 68 (24.9%) considered the waiting time too long.
Dermatological services at the governmental facilities do not meet the expectations of the adolescent. Well-designed operational research studies on the appropriate sample, focusing on patients’ expectation and satisfaction with appropriate sample is required. Such studies will facilitate the work of the policy makers and service implementers and help them to develop appropriate human and other resources in order to tailor dermatologic services to the clients’ expectations.