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You can't always get what you want
  1. Robert W Tarr
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert W Tarr, Department of Radiology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 11100 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio, OH 44106, USA; robert.tarr{at}

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You can't always get what you wantYou can't always get what you wantYou can't always get what you wantBut if you try sometimes, you just might findYou get what you needMick Jagger, Keith Richards—1969

Patient satisfaction has become an important metric for hospitals to report. It is used for various hospital ranking platforms such as that published by US News and World Report as well as for good old-fashioned community marketing. Eventually, patient satisfaction may be incorporated into one of the many outcome measures which are being proposed to adjust payment to hospitals.

I think striving to improve patient satisfaction is a good idea. However, measuring an ephemeral qualitative impression such as satisfaction can be unreliable, since gratification depends on the perception of the beholder. Additionally, it can …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.