Patient opinion of the doctor-patient relationship in a public hospital in Qatar.
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OBJECTIVE: To analyze the factors associated with the level of satisfaction of outpatients in their relationship with their doctor at the largest public hospital in Qatar. METHODS: This study was a cross-sectional survey of attitudes. Researchers surveyed 626 outpatients at Hamad General Hospital in Doha, Qatar from September 2009 to January 2010 using a novel questionnaire assessing satisfaction with patients' interaction(s) with their doctor (spent time with patient, took case seriously, maintained confidentiality, and the overall quality of visit). RESULTS: Mean responses on 4 Likert scale items (one to 5) were as follows: "spent enough time with patient" = 4.39; "doctor took case seriously" = 4.57; "satisfaction with doctor-patient confidentiality" = 4.71; "overall quality of visit" = 4.46. Age, gender, citizenship, level of education, and number of visits did not significantly impact the level of satisfaction. For 73.1% of patients, the physician's qualification was the most important factor in choosing a doctor. Of those surveyed, 40.7% of men and 28.1% of women preferred to see a doctor of their own gender. A positive correlation between perceived communication and satisfaction with the doctor-patient encounter was established. CONCLUSION: This study found that patients in the Out-Patient Department at Hamad Hospital were highly satisfied with their relationships with their doctors, and physician qualification was the most significant factor in choosing a doctor. A significant number of males and females preferred a physician of their own gender. Communication difficulty correlated with lower satisfaction.