Press Ganey; patient satisfaction; free-standing vs. hospital-based emergency department; emergency medicine; surveys; quality of care; statistics and numerical data


Emergency Medicine | Health and Medical Administration | Medicine and Health Sciences



The use of physician satisfaction scores to evaluate emergency medicine physicians’ performance and compensation is controversial. Prior studies have shown that the clinical environment may influence scores. This study compared satisfaction scores for the same physician at different emergency departments (ED). Differences in their individual score may indicate the ED environment could be as important as the physician’s interaction.


Press Ganey satisfaction scores were obtained for physicians at three EDs—Grand Strand, South Strand and North Strand—between July 2018 and June 2019. Included physicians worked at all 3 facilities and had at least 6 patient satisfaction surveys at each site. The Press Ganey scale ranges from 1–5, with 1 as "very poor" and 5 as "very good". Using top-box methodology, the total physician score was generated from the average of 4 questions: courtesy, keeping patients informed, patient comfort and listening. We utilized descriptive statistics to compare scores for all physicians at each of the 3 sites. In addition, each physician’s top box scores were averaged by site for analysis (two-way ANOVA) to determine if individual physician scores varied in different EDs.


Fourteen physicians met inclusion criteria. Physicians at the main ED had an average total score of 73.37 ± 6.08 (SD) versus 76.5 ± 8.87 and 85.09 ± 7.75 at the 2 free standing EDs. Two-way ANOVA showed that the Press Ganey scores were significantly different for individual physicians between the newer free-standing ED and either the main ED or the other free-standing ED, p<0.001 and p=0.014, respectively. The observed difference between the main ED and the older free-standing ED was not statistically significant, p=0.111. When applying the same analysis to the 4 individual physician questions, the significant differences or trends persisted.


Physician satisfaction scores demonstrated a significant variance depending on where they practiced. The highest patient satisfaction scores were received at the newest of the 3 facilities with individual rooms. The findings suggest that Press Ganey scores may not be reliable when comparing patient satisfaction scores for providers who practice in different EDs.