High-quality physician communication is the foundation for achieving high patient satisfaction. Increasing importance is placed on eliciting feedback from patients. However, there have been few studies looking at the impact of resident involvement on patient satisfaction. Our hospital system values the patient's likelihood to recommend the practice as the top marker for patient satisfaction.
Between May 2016 and December 2016 at University of California, San Diego, all outpatient appointments were randomly mailed Press-Ganey surveys or an eSurvey regarding their experience. The surveys were filtered based on resident participation, and an χ2 test was performed to assess the impact of residents. An additional aim was to determine the degree to which the impact of resident involvement differed between surgical specialties. Binomial probability was calculated for each specialty using the "no resident" group as the reference percentage.
A total of 73,834 surveys were mailed or sent electronically, and 17,653 surveys were returned (23.9% response rate). Overall, patients expressed high levels of satisfaction with the quality of physician communication. Patients who had residents involved in their care reported a decrease in satisfaction with physician communication and a decrease in the likelihood to recommend the practice (88.7% vs 90.4%, P < 0.001). In the analysis of resident impact by surgical specialty, 9 specialties qualified for analysis. Resident involvement was associated with lower physician communication scores in orthopedic surgery (P = 0.032), otolaryngology (P = 0.015), and vascular surgery (P = 0.01). In all other surgical subspecialties, there was no statistically significant difference between groups.
Overall, patients expressed high levels of satisfaction with the quality of physician communication with and without resident involvement. Resident physician involvement in surgical clinic visits was associated with lower overall patient satisfaction and decreased likelihood of recommending the practice. In addition, we observed that resident involvement was not associated with lower communication scores in most surgical specialties, including Plastic Surgery.