Standardized patient surveys are widely used for assessing quality of healthcare from the patient perspective. An important purpose of such surveys is to identify disparities in care among different patient groups. The purpose of this study was to 1.) evaluate aspects of the validity of the adapted Swedish version of the Picker Patient Care Experience -15 (PPE-15) survey and 2.) examine the explanatory value of various socio-demographic and health characteristics in predicting patients’ care experiences.
A retrospective cross-sectional study design was used. Patients discharged from internal medicine wards at regional and university hospitals in different parts of Sweden during 2010 were invited to participate in the regularly administered national care-experience survey for hospital care. The internal validity of the PPE-15 was assessed with Cronbach’s alpha and item-scale correlations. Pearson product–moment correlation coefficients were used to compare PPE-15 total scores with overall care satisfaction ratings and Spearman correlation coefficients were used to compare PPE-15 total scores with various patient characteristics. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to examine the influence of various patient characteristics on PPE-15 scores.
The response rate was 66% (n = 34 603). Cronbach’s alpha was 0.87. The correlation between the PPE-15 total score and overall care satisfaction was high (0.62, p < 0.0001). Good self-rated health (SRH) and having Swedish as native language were associated with better care experiences and poorer experiences with greater healthcare utilization, higher age, functional impairment and being female. All examined characteristics, except language, were significant predictors in the regression model and SRH was the strongest predictor; however, the model explained only 7% of the total variance. Vulnerable patients (i.e. poor SRH and functional impairment) reported significantly less positive care experiences than did non-vulnerable patients (mean PPE-15 score 75 vs 85; p < 0.0001).
Our results supported the internal validity of the Swedish adapted version of the PPE-15. The explanatory value of the examined patient socio-demographic and health characteristics was low, suggesting the need for exploring other patient-related determinants of care experiences. Our findings also suggest a care paradox: patients in greatest need of hospital care are least satisfied with the quality of the care they receive.