Background: Accessibility to secondary health services is not always easy for patients who live at a great distance of hospital. In these circumstances, transferring diagnostic tools and treatment options to primary care could prove beneficial for patients. To do so, the quality of medical care and the costs and benefits of the approach need to be assessed. However, the patient perspective is equally important, offering important insights.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study we investigate the satisfaction of patients toward a new teleradiology facility offered a general practice on Ameland, an island in the Netherlands. A questionnaire was created based on the Dutch version of the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire III and completed by all patients after receiving an x-ray in primary care between June 1, 2007 and June 1, 2009. Those who received more than one x-ray in that period were included only once. The technical and interpersonal skills of doctors were rated out the sum score of the questionnaire namely 25 and 30, respectively. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the differences between the means of the satisfaction subscales and the patient characteristics.
Results: The response proportion was after reminder 65 % (381/587 patients). Satisfaction with the technical skills of the doctor providing the teleradiology service was 22.4 +/- 3.7, while satisfaction with the interpersonal skills of the doctor during the diagnostic phase was 26.8 +/- 3.8. Island residents, the elderly, and those with no history of trauma were more satisfied with the technical and interpersonal aspects of the consultation than non-residents, younger patients, and those with a history of trauma.
Conclusion: Patients in the island community of Ameland experienced high levels of satisfaction with the teleradiology service offered in primary care.