Document Type: Letter to Editor

Author

1Medical Education Department, College of Medicine University of Qassim, Saudi Arabia; 2Education Development and Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine University of Gezira, Sudan

Abstract

Dear editor Patients’ satisfaction has long been consideredas an important factor when gauging healthoutcome and quality of care in both developedand developing countries (1) and constitutes asubstantial indicator of the health care quality(2). Researches have shown that satisfiedpatients are more likely to develop a goodrelationship with the health system, leading toimproving compliance, continuity of care andultimately better health outcome (3).Identification of patient’ needs and evaluationof the health services provided are the startingpoints of a patient-centered approach in providinghealth care (4). In recent years, the health systemof Sudan has undergone some reforms and hasestablished an extensive health infrastructure inboth the public and private sectors (5). In Sudan,people of different social classes take treatmentfrom different health providers such as public,private, and military hospitals for differentreasons including economic condition, healthknowledge, and socio-demographic determinants.Cultural practices may influence people to choosethe particular healthcare service providers.We aimed, in this study, at assessing thepatients’ satisfaction with their treating doctors,in the internal medicine program, and identifyingthe areas that need more emphasis in the trainingof the residents. A cross-sectional facility-basedstudy was conducted on Wed Madani, a teachinghospital, 200 kilometre south to Khartoum,Sudan from June to September 2017.The patients were accessed through avalidated self-administered questionnaire. Theselection of the participants within the selectedtraining centers was done by systematic sampling.The sample size was 389 patients.All the respondents (n=389) agreed toparticipate in this study giving a response rateof 100%. The majority of patients under studywere women, two hundred thirty-eight (62.2%),and the greatest number of respondents belongedto the age group 46-52, (47.8%).The overall patients’ satisfaction rate was257 (66.1%), and the dissatisfaction rate was132 (33.9%). The areas for satisfaction werethe residents’ respect for what the patientssaid, 77.4% (n=301), maintaining privacy whenconducting physical examination, 68.4 (n=266),and the explanations that residents providedabout the results of their treatment 78.9%(n=307). The areas behind the dissatisfactionwere: residents did not listen carefully to theirpatients, 73.77% (n=287), residents did not makethe patients understand their instruction to takethe drugs, 85.8% (n=334), residents did not spendenough time on the patients 94.08% (n=366), andresidents did not explain to them the purpose ofthe investigation they requested 76.60% (n=298).This study showed that there was a relationshipbetween the level of education and satisfaction,where the satisfaction was low in highly educatedpatients. Females were less satisfied than males.There was no association between patients’satisfaction and the employment and maritalstatus. Regarding the monthly income, thosewith low income were most satisfied comparedto those with high income. This may be due tothe fact that those with high income took theirtreatment in the private sector, where there wasno crowdedness compared to that in the publichospitals most of the time.There are several factors that lead to patients’satisfaction. The findings are in agreement withanother study which showed that the reasonsbehind the high level of satisfaction wereresidents’ respect for what the patients say, andmaintaining the privacy and confidentialities oftheir patients (6).On the other hand, there are several reasonsthat decrease the level of satisfaction includingthe residents’ lack of spending adequate time forlistening to the patient’s complaints and medicalproblems. This is in accordance with the findingsof a similar study conducted in Pakistan (7).The results of this study could be very usefulin the planning and delivery of training forresidents in Sudan and the region.This study has some limitations, one ofwhich is that we depended on self-reports fromrespondents speaking for themselves or theirparents (for illiterate participants). This may haveintroduced surrogate bias.

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