health care, better informed about the benefits, risks,
costs and alternatives for treatments, more technologically savvy, and more engaged in decision making with
providers. As a result, hospitals will need strong IT
infrastructure and tools to meet the increasing expectations of these more sophisticated consumers.
Patient satisfaction is a phenomenon determined by
expectations and values. These values are important
antecedents for patient satisfaction as we ask them to
evaluate their care based on what they want and expect
from health care providers. In general, patient satisfaction is an evaluative summary of whether a patient likes
or dislikes health care services. Raftopoulos explained
that patients evaluate care as functions of cognitive
(beliefs, expectations and perceptions), affect (feelings)
and behavioral intentions (aspirations and expected
responses to care provided) [ 8]. This means that patient
satisfaction is a dynamic process determined by the way
a patient thinks, observes, and acts. Therefore, patient
satisfaction is an attitude based on the way a patient
conceives the phenomenon of a health care experience
while in the hospital. Patients live in a world where IT
and its associated services and benefits abound in
almost every sector ranging from banking, entertainment, and communicating with friends and colleagues.
It should not be surprising that many of these patients
express greater satisfaction in hospitals that also employ
IT in significant ways.
This study represents a simple first step to determine
if there is merit in further assessing IT as an antecedent
for patient satisfaction. The study is not without its
limitations. For example, we do not know the level of
IT investment in the hospitals included within the
other category. There may well be additional explanatory variables that better explain these differences in
patient satisfaction. For example, perhaps most wired
hospitals inherently possess an innovative and radical
culture that permeates all levels of care. Yet, the data in
this study repeatedly pointed to instances where
patients from the most wired hospitals were more satisfied even in those cases where demographic variables
such as hospital size always seem to outweigh other
impacts. Also worth noting is that even though there
were variables with non-significant results in satisfaction ratings, there was not one single statistical test
where the non-wired hospital patients expressed higher
satisfaction than those in the most wired hospitals.
We were fortunate to have a large amount of standardized satisfaction data to explore for this study. The
existence of a centralized data bank of validated satisfaction results through Press Ganey permits unique and
innovative comparisons across hospitals. This study
suggests IT may be an important antecedent for patient
satisfaction. It is a first step that validates the need for
significant future study to better explain this potential.
Future work needs to differentiate between the myriad
of IT solutions to clarify if some play a more important
role in leading to enhanced satisfaction.
Patient satisfaction has emerged as a vital indicator
of the quality of medical care, as well as a significant
determinant in decisions regarding future health
providers. IT investment may well emerge as a strategy
to better meet the needs of an evolving hospital patient
demographic, ultimately resulting in a hospital’s ability
to ensure its competitive position. c
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PAMELA WHITTEN ( email@example.com) is a professor and associate dean in the Department of Telecommunication at Michigan State
University in East Lansing, MI.
DEIRDRE MYLOD ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is the vice president
for public policy at Press Ganey Associates in South Bend, IN.
GORAN GAVRAN ( Ggavran@nmh.org) is a patient satisfaction data
analyst at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL.
HOWARD SYPHER ( email@example.com) is a professor and head of
the communication department at Purdue University in West
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