Study objectives: To compare the quality of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) surgical care with patient satisfaction.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: Academic hospital departments of thoracic oncology and surgery.
Patients and methods: Patients presenting with recently diagnosed NSCLC and eligible for front-line thoracic surgery were eligible. Patient satisfaction was assessed using the Questionnaire of Satisfaction of Hospitalized Patients. Quality of surgical care was evaluated using an original score built accordingly to British Thoracic Society guidelines. Univariate analysis used parametric (Pearson correlation, t test) and nonparametric tests (Mann-Whitney U test) according to test conditions. Probability of survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results: Seventy patients (mean age, 63.7 years) were included. Lobectomy was performed in 62 cases, and pneumonectomy was performed in 8 cases. In all, 28 patients had a postoperative complication. One-year survival rates for patients with stage I-II and stage IIIA NSCLC were 84% and 58%, respectively. Mean patient satisfaction was 78 ± 13/100 and 69 ± 13/100 for global staff and structure index, respectively (± SD). Mean score for quality of surgical care was 88.7/100 (range, 51 to 100). The absence of postoperative complication was significantly related to a high level of satisfaction regarding the structure (r = 0.30, p < 0.05). Other features of patient satisfaction did not show a significant correlation with the quality of the preoperative selection process or the surgical procedure itself (r < 0.20).
Conclusions: Considering the lack of significant correlation, the present study does not support a shortcut between quality of care and patient satisfaction. Nonetheless, patient satisfaction should be integrated into rather than substituted for the quality of health-care assessment, which also needs further development.