Category: Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine - Adult
When a patient (or the parent of a child patient) meets with a medical practitioner, there are several dimensions of the patient’s experience that would be valuable to assess. These may include the patient’s alliance with the practitioner, the patient’s acquisition of knowledge about his or her medical condition and treatment, and the patient’s feelings of confusion. These dimensions of patient experience are important because they may predict outcomes such as patient satisfaction, compliance with medical advice, and emotional distress. Unfortunately, existing scales for measuring patient experience suffer from serious limitations. These include scales with unknown validity because they have not been tested, instruments with poor factor validity that fail to provide distinctions between different components of a patient’s medical experience, scales that are unable to make reliable distinctions between patients beyond merely identifying those who are feeling disgruntled, and the use of response options that produce ceiling effects and highly skewed distributions. Thus, before research can proceed to clarify how patient experience is important, there is a need for a well validated scale assessing multiple dimensions of patient experience.
A new questionnaire was developed for assessing three dimensions of experience when a patient meets with a medical practitioner. The scales include: alliance with the practitioner, acquisition of knowledge, and feelings of confusion. Items for the questionnaire were developed in a series of six preliminary studies that included 400 adults with a medical condition and 284 parents of a child with a medical condition. In these studies, participants were recruited via Qualtrics Panels, and they completed preliminary versions of the questionnaire that were administered via the Internet. Results were used to select items with the best psychometric properties for inclusion in the final version of the Patient Experience Questionnaire (PEQ). The PEQ was then validated in two studies. In the first, 199 parents of a child with a medical condition completed an Internet questionnaire, and the second, 173 parents completed questionnaires after a consultation with a surgeon to discuss surgery plans for their children at a large children’s hospital. Participants completed the new PEQ, other existing measures of patient experience, and other measures for assessing convergent validity. In contrast to existing measures, the PEQ demonstrated substantially better distributional properties, and an item response theory analysis indicated that scales on the PEQ provided information across all levels of experience on all scales. The PEQ also demonstrated good factor validity and it demonstrated expected convergent validity correlations.