Social Connectedness in the Context of Patient-Provider Relationships: A Study of Adult Outpatients' Clinics of a Tertiary Health Facility in North-Central Nigeria
The concepts of social connectedness in the context of patient-providers relationships tends to focus on relationships from a healthcare provider's perspective; the patient's experience with the social relationship with their providers are inadequately described. This study examined patients' perspectives in terms of satisfaction with the perceived providers' attributes of social connectedness displayed during clinic encounter. This was a descriptive cross sectional study conducted between September and October 2019. A multistage sampling technique was used to select respondents and data was collected with the aid of a seven (7) items questionnaire on health care providers' social attributes of connectedness developed from the service quality (SERVIQUAL) questionnaire. The data was analyzed with the aid of SPSS 21.0 and statistical significance was set at a P value 0.05. Satisfaction was reported by 60.4% to 89.8% of patients with regard to the perceived health care providers' attributes of connectedness except for providers' support for which only 43.4% of the patients express satisfaction. Majority (89.8%) of patients were satisfied with the perceived providers' cooperation during clinical encounter. There was a significant association between patient satisfactions and all the perceived attributes.(p-value<0.001) The results of our study were encouraging, showing that the patients were generally satisfied with the perceived health care providers' social attributes. However, there is the need for improvement in social support given by the health care providers to their patients.
Key words: Connectedness, Patients satisfaction, Patient-provider relationship, Social attributes, Outpatients