Qual Saf Health Care 14:433-437 doi:10.1136/qshc.2005.014423
  • Original Article

The OutPatient Experiences Questionnaire (OPEQ): data quality, reliability, and validity in patients attending 52 Norwegian hospitals

  1. A M Garratt1,
  2. Ø A Bjærtnes1,
  3. U Krogstad1,
  4. P Gulbrandsen2
  1. 1Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Nasjonalt Kunnskapssenter for Helsetjenesten, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Medical Faculty Division, Akershus University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A M Garratt
 Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Nasjonalt Kunnskapssenter for Helsetjenesten, Postboks 7004, 0130 Oslo, Norway;andrew.garratt{at}
  • Accepted 19 September 2005


Objective: To describe the development and evaluation of the OutPatient Experiences Questionnaire (OPEQ) for somatic outpatients.

Design: Literature review, patient interviews, pretesting of questionnaire items, and a cross sectional survey.

Setting: Postal survey of adult outpatient clinics at 52 hospitals in all five regions of Norway during 2003 and 2004.

Subjects: 35 719 patients who had attended an outpatient clinic within the previous 3 weeks.

Results: 19 266 patients (53.9%) responded to the questionnaire. Low levels of missing data suggest that the questionnaire is acceptable to patients. Factor analysis of items applicable to all patients produced three factors: clinic access (two items), communication (six items), and organisation (four items). The remaining items contributed to the hypothesised scales of hospital standards (three items), information (six items), and pre-visit communication (three items). With the exception of the pre-visit communication scale, the levels of Cronbach’s alpha were >0.7. With the exception of the hospital standards scale, all produced test-retest correlations that exceeded 0.7. Most of the results of validity testing were as hypothesised. Correlations between the OPEQ scores ranged from 0.30 (clinic access and hospital standards) to 0.73 (communication and information). As hypothesised, scores were significantly related to patient responses to questions about overall satisfaction, general health and age.

Conclusions: The OPEQ is a self-administered questionnaire that includes the most important aspects of patient experience from an outpatient perspective. It has good evidence for internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and validity.


  • This research was funded by the Norwegian Social and Health Directorate (SHDir).

  • Competing interests: none.

  • The Norwegian Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics, the Data Inspectorate and the Norwegian Board of Health approved the survey.