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Is the job satisfaction of primary care team members associated with patient satisfaction?
  1. Joachim Szecsenyi1,2,
  2. Katja Goetz1,
  3. Stephen Campbell1,3,
  4. Bjoern Broge2,
  5. Bernd Reuschenbach1,
  6. Michel Wensing1,4
  1. 1Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University Hospital, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  2. 2AQUA-Institute for Applied Quality Improvement and Research in Health Care, Goettingen, Germany
  3. 3National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK
  4. 4IQ Health Care, University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Joachim Szecsenyi, Professor Head of Department and of AQUA-Institute, Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University Hospital, University of Heidelberg, Vossstrasse 2, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany; joachim.szecsenyi{at}


Background Previous research has shown a correlation between physician job satisfaction and patient satisfaction with quality of care, but the connection between job satisfaction of other primary care team members and patient satisfaction is yet unclear.

Objective To evaluate whether there is an association between patient satisfaction and job satisfaction of the members of patient care teams.

Design The study was based on data from the European Practice Assessment and used an observational design.

Setting 676 primary care practices in Germany.

Participants 47 168 patients, 676 general practitioners (practice principals), 305 physician colleagues (trainees and permanently employed physicians) and 3011 non-physician practice members (nurses, secretaries).

Main outcome measures Patient evaluation was measured using the 23-item EUROPEP questionnaire. Job satisfaction was measured using the 10-item Warr–Cook–Wall job satisfaction scale and further items relating to practice structure. Bivariate correlations were applied in which factors of patient satisfaction and practice structure were compared with physicians and non-physicians satisfaction.

Results Patient satisfaction correlates positively with the general job satisfaction of the non-physician (r=0.25, p<0.01) and no significant correlation was found for the general job satisfaction of practice principals and physician colleagues. Patients' satisfaction with the practice organisation correlates positively with the general job satisfaction of the non-physicians (r=0.30, p<0.01) and their view of practice structure (r=0.29, p<0.01).

Conclusions The correlation between non-physician team member satisfaction and patient satisfaction was higher than the correlation between satisfaction of physicians and patients. Patients seem to be sensitive to aspects of practice structure.

  • General practice
  • job satisfaction
  • patient satisfaction
  • health services research
  • healthcare quality
  • human factors
  • teams

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  • Funding University of Heidelberg.

  • Competing interests Bjoern Broge is employed by the AQUA-Institute which disseminates EPA in Germany. Joachim Szecsenyi is its director and a stockholder.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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