A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds patients with higher healthcare satisfaction were more likely to have hospital admissions, greater prescription drug use, and increased total healthcare expenditures when compared to those who report the lowest satisfaction. Further, despite increased services and costs, individuals with greater satisfaction also had higher mortality when compared with those who reported lowest satisfaction.

This study provides a cautionary tale that should serve as a reminder that behavioral support needs to focus on data that measure behavioral change and not necessarily whether or not the client or his or her caregiver are satisfied with services. The caveat is that though behavioral service providers should not be wholly driven by customer satisfaction, they must ensure that indices of social validation remain at acceptable levels.

(Source: Fenton, J.J., Jerant, A.F., Bertakis, K.D., and Franks, P. (2012), A national study of patient satisfaction, health care utilization, expenditures, and mortality. Archives of Internal Medicine, Feb. 13)