Measurement of User Satisfaction in Patients Receiving Emergency Dental Care at Five Primary Health Care Centers

2012 • Volume 6 • Issue 3

Bucchi, Cristina; Sepúlveda, Constanza; Monsalves, María José; Bustos, Luis



User satisfaction is defined as the patient’s perception of the “degree in which health care professionals satisfy the needs and expectations of the user”, or as “the degree of congruity between users’ expectations about ideal health care services, and their perception of the health care they actually receive”. At present, there are no statistics on health care user satisfaction in the Araucanía Region. Most of the Latin American countries, a number of studies indicate that the level of user satisfaction exceeds 80% for dental care services as a whole. In our study, a standard questionnaire was answered by 305 patients. Of these 305 patients, 53.4% were females, and 60.9% were in the 20-60 year age bracket; 54.8% of all patients had approached the health center because of pain. The most-frequently applied treatment was tooth extraction (62.3%), followed by prescription of medication (22.9%). Regarding user satisfaction, over half the patients (52.1%) felt that waiting time was unduly long. As for the aspects which received a positive evaluation, the overwhelming majority (99%) felt that they were well-treated by the dentist; 83.6% felt that the time taken by the dentist for diagnosis was adequate; they also appreciated the fact that almost all patients (96.9%) receiving a medical prescription were informed of the purpose of the medication, and were given instruction on when and how to take it. 64.6% of respondents said that there are not enough dentists at the health center but, at the same time, 85.3% stated that the dentist had resolved their problem, and 90.5% said they were satisfied with the services received, as a whole. Statistically significant results were obtained on the following aspects of user satisfaction: waiting time; opening hours; effective duration of the dental care received; information given to the patient at the time of prescribing medication; health-center equipment / infrastructure; number of dentists; and if the patient’s problem had been resolved. On the contrary, no statistically significant user satisfaction data was obtained for: differences in user satisfaction between first-time patients and returning patients; and whether information was given to the patient about the nature of the problem / illness, or about alternative means of treatment.

KEY WORDS: user satisfaction, dental care, dental emergency.


How to cite this article

BUCCHI, C.; SEPULVEDA, C.; MONSALVES, M. J. & BUSTOS, L. Measurement of user satisfaction in patients receiving emergency dental care at five primary health care centers. Int. J. Odontostomat., 6(3):275-280, 2012.


PDF of the article.