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Factors Affecting Hospital Choice for Patients Undergoing Elective General Surgery: A Cross-Sectional Study

Abdulmalik Altaf, Hatan Mortada, Mohammed Shawosh, Mohammed Nassif, Ali Alattas, Abdulmalik Abumohssin, Abdu Hakami, Murad Aljiffry, Nora Trabulsi.

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Background and Aims:
The decision to undergo elective surgery can be overwhelming for many patients. In Saudi Arabia, most patients diagnosed with a medical problem that mandates elective surgical treatment can decide on which hospital they prefer their surgery to be performed. Their hospital choice may be affected by many factors. Identifying these factors can provide surgeons and health care administrators with patient’s perspective on potential areas of improvement. We therefore aimed to identify the factors affecting hospital choice for patients undergoing an elective general surgical procedure.
Material and Methods:
A cross-sectional study was conducted between January and June 2018 among adult patients who had or about to have elective surgery at hospital. Data were collected with a face-to-face interview-based questionnaire. The questionnaire included 33 items related to four categories (demographics, factors related to the hospital, factors related to the surgeon, and factors related to the hospital accreditation, amenities and academia).
A total of 401, (59.6% females) were included in the study. Our results showed that the highest percentage of participants chose the hospital for elective surgery because of the surgeon’s reputed skills (95%). Patient considers hospital accreditation (26%) as the least factor that affect their hospital choice decision. There were significant differences between males and females in rating the importance of some of factors. For example, males rated hospital accreditation and facilities, higher than females did, p ≤ 0.05, whereas females rated waiting time and affordability of the hospital higher than males did, p ≤ 0.05.
Our results showed that the highest percentage of patients choose a specific hospital for their elective surgery because of the surgeon’s reputed skills, followed by how well the surgeon was trained. Patients consider hospital’s accreditation, publicity and advertisements as the least factors.

Key words: Hospital Choice, Elective Surgery, Patient decision, Surgeon’s reputation, Patients’ Preference

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