Inpatient Culture and Satisfaction With Care: A Novel Perspective

Henry S. Perkins, Alisa A. Freed, Josie D. Cortez, Helen P. Hazuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Hospital professionals must attend to patients’ satisfaction with care. Along with technical quality of care, patients’ personal characteristics may affect that satisfaction, but standard demographics research often overlooks cultural links. Methods: We, therefore, asked 58 San Antonio, Texas, inpatients their satisfaction with care and examined responses for attitudes related to ethnic—Mexican-American (MA), Euro-American (EA), or African-American (AA)—and gender cultures. Results: Many attitudes occurred widely. Most respondents expected doctors to attend them faithfully, inform them honestly, and pursue their needs and wishes singularly. Most also trusted doctors, and expressed satisfaction with doctors’ generally exemplary character and service ethic. But most respondents also feared hospital treatments, and some expressed dissatisfaction that doctors had inadequately informed them or ignored their wishes. Only rare attitudes distinguished particular ethnic-gender groups. Unlike other groups few EA or AA men expressed dissatisfactions. But some MA and EA women said hospitals use too many caregivers or coordinate care poorly. Furthermore, most AA women expressed no explicit trust in doctors, and most EA women expressed actual distrust of doctors, often doubting their technical competence or altruism. Conclusions: These findings suggest a novel perspective: a unique inpatient culture, largely unaffected by ethnic group or gender. Patients interpret their hospital experience through that culture. Hospital professionals might respond with both universal measures (addressing patients’ fears, dissatisfactions, and distrust) and targeted ones (explicitly asking EA and AA men about dissatisfactions, and AA and EA women about distrust). Such culturally grounded measures may help maintain or increase inpatients’ satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-232
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Cross-cultural comparisons
  • Physician-patient relations
  • Satisfaction with inpatient care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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