Factors that Influence Patients in Choosing Their Treating Physicians in the Private Sector in Saudi Arabia
American Journal of Public Health Research
Abdulilah Al-Briek, Abdullah Al-Barrak, Kholood Al-Johi, Mohammed Al-Anazi, Mohammed Al-Ateeq , Nazish Masud
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Ministry of National Guard, Health Affairs, Saudi Arabia
Year of Publication:
Choice of the treating physician by the patient is expected to increase the level of satisfaction and improve health care outcomes. The aim of this study was to explore the factors that may influence patients in choosing their treating physicians in the private health sector in Saudi Arabia.
This was a cross-sectional study. An online questionnaire was distributed targeting Arabic-speaking adults, Saudis and non-Saudis, aged 18 years and above of both genders. The questionnaire included questions related to demographic data, personal factors of the physician, professional factors of the physician, health center/hospital factors, and methods patients use to access a preferred physician.
A total of 1582 participants completed the questionnaire. The most influential factor related to physician personal features was renown, reported by participants as either “very important” (31.7%) or “somewhat important” (23.8%), followed by physician appearance, considered to be “very important” and “somewhat important” by 28.6% and 21.1% of participants respectively. Regarding physician professional features, the most influential factor reported was previous experience of the physician for the patient or relative, considered “very important” by 66.5% of participants, followed by physician title (63.1%) and sub-specialization (57.71%). Regarding hospital factors, the availability of an appointment with a short waiting time was reported as “very important” by 59.2% of participants, followed by affordability of fees (50.0%) and hospital access (46.84).
Experience of the patient with the physician as well as physician title and sub-specialization significantly influence the choice of physician in the private sector in Saudi Arabia.