Objective: To develop attributes relevant to satisfying ophthalmic care among health providers and patients.
Design: Mixed-method study.
Settings: Harare Central Hospital Eye Unit, Zimbabwe.
Subjects: A convenience sample of 30 eligible adult patients who had come for eye care at the outpatients’
department and 18 health care providers.
Methods: This study was conducted as the first phase of a two-phase broader study. We held five focus groups
with patients and doctors separately and twelve in-depth key informant interviews with nurses. Participants
were asked to identify attributes of the care process they regarded as leading to satisfying eye care. We recorded
full details and used a tallying method to record frequencies. We then ranked and identified key attributes, with
the top three attributes regarded as the most important.
Results: The study developed nine attributes from health providers and seven attributes from health users.
The most important attributes for health providers were the availability of drugs, good staff attitude and the
availability of equipment. Patients prioritised good staff attitude, adequate information and the availability of
doctors. All the attributes mentioned by health users were mentioned by health providers but ranked differently.
Conclusion: Both clinical and nonclinical attributes of care were considered by health providers and health
users. Overall, attributes that were important to patients were linked to interpersonal relations (attitudes,
communication, availability of, and access to doctors). Health providers’ preferences were mostly clinical (drugs
and equipment). Acknowledging these differences in perspectives may help policymakers when designing
frameworks for quality health services.
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