Medication use and patient satisfaction: a population-based survey
Background. In recent years, there is a growing interest to assess patients' satisfaction which further triggers the existing debate on the severe methodological issues regarding the interpretation of comparative surveys results. Objective. This cross-sectional national survey aimed to examine satisfaction of Greek households with specific aspects of medication use and their correlates. Methods. Between November 2004 and February 2005, telephone interviews were used for collecting information about socio-demographic and health-related characteristics in a systematic sample of 1000 Greek households. Respondents were classified into three categories: chronic or short-term prescribed medication use, occasional medication use and no medication use during the 3 months preceding the survey. Satisfaction was assessed through various aspects of medication use like physician's consultation, physician's response to adverse events, consultation and advice by pharmacists, symptoms' resolution, route of drug administration, drug tolerability and drug cost. Results. The prescribed drugs' use in the 3 months preceding the survey interview was 36.9%; 28.6% for subjects under chronic treatment and 8.3% under short-term treatment. During the same time period, 52.8% of the respondents reported the occasional self-use of over the counter drugs for minor symptoms. A high prevalence of hypertension, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and endocrine disorders has been observed. In general, respondents expressed a high degree of satisfaction with all aspects of medication use examined, the only exception being costs. Age, area of residence, social insurance scheme and self-reported health status were associated with specific aspects of patient satisfaction. Conclusions. Patient satisfaction with the aspects of medication use examined seems to be influenced by demographic and social factors; this points out to the necessity of taking into account socio-cultural variations and the structure of the health-care system in policymaking.