Patient Satisfaction and Safety: Literature Review


The paper critically evaluates the literature review surrounding patient satisfaction and safety in health care. The provision of ascertaining patient satisfaction and safety is embedded in the quality and standards of service provision in the health care facility. The is integral to ascertain that patients are satisfied and feel safe with services provided to them in an organization culminating in the high quality of services offered. The paper conducts extensive researcher on scholarly, journal, and peer-reviewed materials to examine the existing literature and arguments informing the patient satisfaction and safety subject. This is fundamental to create a more illuminating understanding of the subject creating room for further advancements. From the research, it is evident that patient satisfaction is not the same as patient safety. While the two influence each and overlap in many contexts, there are different from each other – an aspect outlined clearly by the literature review. Also, identification of the attributes of patient satisfaction will be fundamental to the paper to expound on the realization of patient satisfaction and how safety impacts to the former. Therefore, an extensive study was conducted to inform the literature review using different sources, as discussed below.

Literature Review

Differentiating Between Patient Satisfaction and Safety

In the healthcare sector, patient satisfaction and safety are two profoundly different aspects that determine the quality and standards of services provided in a healthcare organization. Astion (2018) notes that the relationship between patient satisfaction and patient safety is complicated, creating an “overlapping, but not identical, goals.” The overlapping goals impacting in the assurance of patient satisfaction and safety revolve on reducing the time for service provision. For instance, the reduction of waiting time in getting laboratory results, consultation services, and access to vital information on the diagnosis of the patient. The capacity to conduct proper information retrieval, interpretation and communication of results enhances patient satisfaction and safety. The two impacts in the elimination of errors, accuracy in handling patient tests and results, less painful procedures, elimination of misleading diagnosis, among other aspects that impact in building patient confidence (Okafor, Ugwu & Okon, 2018). Thus, it results in building a strong confidence level in the services provided in a healthcare facility that ascertain safety and assurance to the patient.

Okafor et al. (2018, 268) define patient satisfaction as the “extent to which patients feel that their needs and expectations are met by services provided in a healthcare facility.” The service provider ought to be patient-centered as the patient is the most important and integral person in the entire healthcare system setup. The capacity to ascertain patient satisfaction is the primary objective of care provision. Hence, it informs all other decisions, procedures, and strategies applied in a healthcare facility. Okafor et al. (2018) emphasize the value of patient safety as part of the overall organizational culture that impacts patient satisfaction. This is achieved through the assurance of continued communication, mutual trust, shared perception of safety, collaboration, and ascertaining pf confidence in the deployment of preventive measures. Safety culture in health care builds the confidence of continued service delivery that meets the patient’s expectations and needs (Aiken et al., 2012). Thus, it results in the assurance creation on the patients by the access to quality services offered in the health care facility from reception, diagnosis, treatment, to discharge.

Attributes of Patient Satisfaction

The assurance of patient satisfaction is based on various attributes that culminate in the functionality and conduct of the service provider in a health care facility. The primary attribute leading to patient satisfaction and safety is based on the structures that determine the processes and outcome of care provision. The structures comprise of the management, administration, and procedures that inform access to services, professional medical personnel, and health care team (Costa, Moura, Moraes, Santos & Magalhães, 2020). Also, information systems, technical support staff, hospital environment, the competence of employees, and adaptation to changes in the health care system. This affects the quality of services and the assurance of positive perception created on patients through the continued assurance of safety in the different procedures they are subjected to in the access to services (Kang, Kunkel, Columbo, Goodney & Wong, 2019).

Zineldin (2015) asserts that patient safety and satisfaction revolve on the assurance of the creation of a trust that a health care organization offers to patients. The integral feature of service provision is embedded in the assurance of confidence and trust built on patients by an organization. Health care service providers must function with the primary objective of creating the assurance to patients that they can trust and believe in as a mechanism of receiving quality services (Costa et al., 2020). Access to quality services must be ascertained by proper procedures and mechanisms employed by health care medical staff, including nurses and physicians. In turn, results in the smooth operations of a health care facility in which patients are assured of satisfaction and safety (Kang et al., 2019). Thus, it culminates in the achievement of the overall capacity to operate and leave patients satisfied in the conduct of healthcare professionals.

How Patient Safety Culture Impacts Patient Satisfaction

The capacity to establish patient safety culture is paramount to the provision of quality and high standard services in the health care sector. Okafor et al. (2018) state that patient safety in health care organizations is found to be an integral feature that results in the improvement of patient safety, which results in patient satisfaction. The occurrence of medical errors is almost an inevitable endeavor resulting from human, environmental, chance, or technological failures developing catastrophic errors in health care. The improvement of safety culture sets high standards of operations and functionality in the healthcare that emphasizes on ascertaining patient safety. As a result, patient satisfaction in the services provided is based on reduced unnecessary risks and harm that originate from errors in the mismanagement of safety. Therefore, studies indicate that patient safety culture is integral to the assurance of safety in the operations of health care and services provided to patients (Aboelfath, Shahein, Hegazy & Salem, 2016).

According to Astion (2018), patient satisfaction and patient safety are achieved through an organizational culture that influences positive perceptions of patients across a continuum of care provision. That is, safety culture guarantees continued care provision based on creating satisfying patient experiences focused on providing the best care possible in the organization. This is critical for overall service delivery to patients that yearn for quality and satisfaction of their needs from respective health care organizations. Aboelfath et al. (2016) assert that health care workers ought to be fully enlightened and privy to patient safety culture to ensure that their conduct is aligned with this concept. Also, a culture of safety is fundamental to the reduction of errors and near misses found to impede service delivery in healthcare facilities. Therefore, it is critical to adopt procedures of continued training and capacity building on healthcare professionals to build a safety culture that results in patient satisfaction based on the effectiveness of the measures utilized in the healthcare services provision.

Advancing Patient Satisfaction and Safety in Healthcare

In the contemporary health care services provision, the adoption of information technology has been fundamental to improving patient satisfaction and safety in the health care sector. Kagan, Porat, and Barnoy (2019) note that quality and patient safety culture are the primary aspects impacting on patient satisfaction in healthcare services provision. In a study conducted by Alotaibi and Federico (2017) states that the adoption of health information technology has profoundly impacted on advancing patient safety and satisfaction. This is through improved legibility, medical records retrieval, elimination of medical errors, and access to patient’s health information history. Also, access to a vast pool of information and resources has been made possible through the advancements of health information technology in the handling of patients.

Allen-Duck, Robinson, and Stewart (2017) present that the quality of healthcare services serves as an integral indicator of the context of public trust in the sector. The reassurance of healthcare quality is essential to ensure the public trust is restored amidst the rising worsening of the quality of service delivery. The incorporation of technology eases patient’s health information retrieval, elimination of errors and information mixing, diagnosis and testing problems, and confusing management (Alotaibi & Federico, 2017). The problems in the system are resolved by setting up quality guaranteeing procedures that maintain efficiency and continued contact with the patient. In turn, ensure the patient is continuously satisfied with the level of services from every stage of the treatment in the healthcare organization (Kagan et al., 2019).

As well, technology enables close monitoring of patients and the safety of the information that serves as the main impediment to quality services. Health information is the center feature between quality services and potential harm to patients. As a result, this promotes an atmosphere of teamwork, positive patient perceptions, and commitment to the provision of quality services (Kagan et al., 2019). In turn, continued service provision is guaranteed results in the context of patient satisfaction and high rates of recovery and contentment in the operations of the health care provider.

Communication as a Key Component of Patient Satisfaction and Safety

The research shows that communication is a profoundly key component of assuring patient satisfaction and safety. According to Decety and Fotopoulou (2015), the conduct of empathetic communication and interactions impact on patient satisfaction. Hartigan, Cussen, Meaney, and O’Donoghue (2018) notes that communication is based on the conversations between the patient and healthcare service providers, especially the physicians and nurses. The implementation of continued communication allows patients and medical practitioners to provide continued updates on the progress of the patient. This helps establish positive relationships and build trust in service provision (Lin et al., 2013). As a result, the continued interaction is fundamental to the feeling of satisfaction and contentment in the safety measures employed in an organization.

Additionally, effective communication creates a link whereby continued sharing of information is conducted, and the necessary steps are taken accordingly. Dingley, Daugherty, Derieg, and Persing (2008) asserts that the reliability of communication channels is critical for the health information flow results in the quality of services. According to Norouzinia, Aghabarari, Shiri, Karimi, and Samami (2016), effective communication establishes a resolute mechanism that builds the bond and relationship between the patient and healthcare providers. This culminates in the upholding of confidentiality and privacy of healthcare information (Hartigan et al., 2018). Howick et al. (2018) emphasize the value of showing compassion by listening to patient’s needs and desires result in satisfaction as they comply with the objective of the patient’s being the center of all healthcare strategies and goals. Hence, the assurance of quality service providers results in the realization of patient satisfaction and safety (Norouzinia et al., 2016).


In conclusion, the assurance of patient satisfaction and safety is based on a wide variety of mechanisms of operations in the healthcare services provision. The conduct of the literature review illuminates essential research findings that emphasize the value of effective communication and how it can be utilized to connect the patient and healthcare services providers. Also, the quality of services is based on operating with the patient as the center of all operations, goals, and objectives. Patient safety and patient satisfaction form a complex mechanism with overlapping goals based on the quality of services. The capacity to maintain high-quality services is fundamental to set a patient safety culture. In turn, culminate in patient satisfaction in the healthcare services provided in an organization. That is, the inclusion of features such as reduced waiting time, accuracy in testing and results, health care information retrieval, elimination or reduction or medical errors, and improvement of efficiency in service provision is integral to patient satisfaction and safety.


Aboelfath, O. M., Shahein, H. M. E., Hegazy, N. N., & Salem, S. S. M. (2016). Patient satisfaction toward patient safety measures among Elobour family health centers. Menoufia Medical Journal29(4), 1048.

Aiken, L. H., Sermeus, W., Van den Heede, K., Sloane, D. M., Busse, R., McKee, M., … & Tishelman, C. (2012). Patient safety, satisfaction, and quality of hospital care: cross-sectional surveys of nurses and patients in 12 countries in Europe and the United States. BMJ344, e1717.

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