Satisfaction Work: The Joint Production of Patient Satisfaction by Health Care Providers and Patients


  • John E. Swan University of Alabama at Birmingham


The disconfirmation model holds that consumer satisfaction results when product performance equals or exceeds expectations while performance short of expectations yields dissatisfaction. The argument of this essay is that in a hospital setting both patient expectations and standards for performance are negotiated as health care providers attempt to change unrealistic patient expectations/performance standards. As a result, satisfaction is a joint product of work done by both providers and patients. Satisfaction is a social process.

Those themes are illustrated by data from focused group interviews with patients, physicians and nurses analyzed using qualitative research concepts (symbolic interaction) and methods.




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