Patients' expectations for medical care: An expanded formulation based on review of the literature

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177 Scopus citations


An expanding literature on patients' expectations for medical care suffers from definitional confusion and lack of a conceptual model linking patients' expectations to important antecedents and consequences. This article aims to (1) provide a clear and inclusive definition of patients' expectations for care, (2) place patients' expectations in a conceptual framework, built around patient satisfaction, and (3) develop a taxonomy of patients' expectations that promotes improved clinical care and research. Patients' expectations may be understood as beliefs or attitudes that interact with perceived occurrences to produce care-related evaluations. Research over the past 30 years indicates that patients' expectations may express probabilities or values related to a specific visit or to ongoing care, that the content of patients' expectations is broad, and that it makes a difference when expectations are elicited. This framework raises numerous questions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-27
Number of pages25
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)


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