Skip to main content

Patient Satisfaction with Primary Care Clinicians: Physician Assistants, General Internists, Family Practitioners

1 August 1999


OBJECTIVES. To determine whether type of primary care clinician was associated with differences in patient satisfaction in a large group model HMO. We compared patient satisfaction/dissatisfaction ratings among physician assistants (PAs), family physicians (FPs), and general internists (GIMs).

METHODS. This study setting is Kaiser Permanente, Northwest Region (KPNW). In 1994, the Kaiser Center for Health Research selected a stratified (by facility) random sample of visits to KPNW clinicians for a post-visit mail survey (response rate = 60 percent). Members making the visits were asked a series of questions about the visit, including how satisfied/ dissatisfied they had been with various components ofthe visit. They were also asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the visit. This analysis is limited to adults (members 18 years of age and older).

RESULTS. Patients were similar across all three clinician groups in their ratings of satisfaction/dissatisfaction for time spent, information provided, and perceived interest. Ratings of patient satisfaction/dissatisfaction were also similar for physician assistants and family physicians for skill, courtesy, and arrangement of services. Older patients and female patients tended to be more satisfied with general internists on these aspects of care. Overall satisfaction with the visit also tended to be higher for general internists for these two patient groups.

CONCLUSIONS. Patients reported high levels of satisfaction across clinician groups and satisfaction/dissatisfaction ratings were similar for physician assistants and family physicians. Older patients and females were more satisfied with general internists for certain aspects of care. The reasons for these differences need to be investigated further.


Files are restricted to Pacific University. Sign in to view.