This study aimed to investigate factors associated with patient experience with primary care in a large public health system in Mexico and determine the amount of variability in experience attributable to facility-level and state-level factors.
We analysed cross-sectional 2016 national satisfaction survey data from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS). Patient-level data were merged with facility-level data and information on poverty by state. We assessed general contextual effects and examined the relationship of patient, facility and state factors with four patient experience measures using random effects logistic regression.
25 745 patients’ responses from 319 facilities were analysed. The majority experienced good communication (78%), the opportunity to share health concerns (91%) and resolution of doubts (85%). 29% of visits were rated as excellent. Differences between facilities and states accounted for up to 12% and 6% of the variation in patient experience, respectively. Inclusion of facility-level contextual effects improved model predictions by 8%–12%; models with facility random effects and individual covariates correctly predicted 64%–71% of individual outcomes. In adjusted models, larger patient population was correlated with worse reported communication, less opportunity to share concerns and less resolution of doubts. Men reported more positive communication; older individuals reported more positive communication and experiences overall, but less opportunity to share concerns; and more educated individuals were less likely to report positive communication but more likely to report resolution of doubts and overall positive experiences. Preventive care visits were rated higher than curative visits for resolution of doubts, but lower for opportunity to share concerns, and specific conditions were associated with better or worse reported experiences in some cases.
Quality improvement efforts at IMSS facilities might bolster individual experiences with primary care, given that up to 12% of the variation in experience was attributable to facility-level differences. The relationship between individual characteristics and experience ratings reinforces the importance of patients’ expectations of care and the potential for differential treatment by providers to impact experience.