1. Anthony, Mary K. PhD, RN
  2. Higgins, Patricia A. PhD, RN


Objective: The overall objective of this article was to apply an existing methodology (concept mapping) to a nonstandardized interorganizational data set. The specific aims were to (1) identify, define, and create a map that represented the common conceptual domains of patient satisfaction; (2)validate the relationships among concepts; and (3) use the map by testing the relationships of the patient satisfaction concepts to other patient outcomes.


Background: The lack of standardized methodologies for collecting patient outcome data across multiple institutions poses threats to the validity and generalizability of research findings.


Methods: The steps in concept mapping were used to explicate the common underlying conceptual dimensions from 3 patient satisfaction tools. The map was then used to evaluate the extent that patient satisfaction was related to outcomes of hospitalized patients. Each of 3 hospitals' measure of patient satisfaction varied in the number and type of items. All items were examined to identify potential areas of conceptual correspondence.


Results: Items were grouped into 1 of the 3 identified categories that were consistent across sites: caring, communication, and responsiveness. Moderate correlations were found among the concepts of satisfaction and medication errors, nosocomial infections, and patient falls.


Conclusions: Concept mapping-more traditionally used for learning, project planning, and evaluation-is a technique that has demonstrated utility in multi-institutional research.