When Culture Matters: Using Compliments and Complaints to Define and Influence Chinese Patients’ Satisfaction

James O. Stanworth, Ryan Shuwei Hsu, Peter A. Stanworth, Janet M. Kemp, Rebecca Tzen, Hsin Hung Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite patients’ cultural background influencing their satisfaction with medical care the majority of studies draw on assumptions and models from the Western world. We move attention to the East Asian world by investigating the attributes of Chinese patients’ satisfaction with their hospital in-patient care. Our research design is an exploratory qualitative study of 577 incidents of Chinese hospital in-patients’ complaints and compliments. The data were drawn from a sample of reports of patients’ satisfaction with their care in a district general hospital over a five-year period. Analysis focused on satisfactory and dissatisfactory events to derive attributes involved. We find patients in Chinese culture evaluate satisfaction with their care using eight attributes: professionalism, efficiency, chīn-chièh, respect, patience, responsibility, value and ethics. We explore how Chinese patients’ values and beliefs toward medicine and care-giving construct distinct meanings around these attributes. By synthesizing our findings with those in the literature we propose generic attributes which can form the basis of measures of Chinese patient satisfaction and inform training in cultural competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-147
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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