Health care provider characteristics as determinants of patient satisfaction, intended compliance, and intended health care utilization
This analogue study investigated the effects of provider age, sex, and communication style and patient communication style on participants' evaluations of a hypothetical patient's (a) satisfaction with medical care, (b) satisfaction with provider communication, (c) intention to comply with medical recommendations of the provider, and (d) intention to return for scheduled follow-up care. Participants in this study were 91 male veterans seen in outpatient clinics at the Biloxi, Mississippi Veterans Affairs Medical Center or satellite facilities or at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida. The participants were randomly assigned to one of eight provider transcript vignettes in which the physician's age, sex, and communication style were manipulated. Each participant completed a demographic questionnaire, the six-item global satisfaction subscale of the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire-Form III (PSQ-III) and a version of Norton's Communicator Style Measure (CSM) that was modified by Buller and Buller (1987). Following the presentation of the vignette, the subjects completed the entire PSQ-III, the modified version of the CSM in reference to the physician's communication style, a version of the Interpersonal Communication Satisfaction Scale (ICSS) that was reworded by Buller and Buller (1987), and a seven-item compliance questionnaire. Provider age, provider sex, provider communication style, and patient communication style did not significantly affect participants' evaluations of patient satisfaction, patient satisfaction with provider communication style, patient intention to comply with provider recommendations, or patient intention to return for scheduled follow-up care. The covariates of patient age and satisfaction with prior medical care significantly influenced participants' evaluation of satisfaction with care provided in the vignette so that there was a more favorable participant response to older provider age and dominant provider communication style. Responses were more positive on all other health outcomes for female provider and affiliative provider communication style.