Purpose: National Health Systems (NHS) experience low trust and lack of public confidence while receiving strong pressure from governments and societies to improve their quality and compete effectively. The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, to investigate how patients perceive service quality in Greek NHS hospitals. Second, to assess patients' perceptions, expectations and the relevant gaps concerning the quality provided by public hospitals. Third, to determine the relative importance of quality dimensions in influencing patients' overall quality perceptions. Design/methodology/approach: Empirical research using the SERVQUAL instrument was conducted in six NHS hospitals located in North Greece. A total of 137 usable questionnaires were collected. Findings: The research results revealed a three-dimension SERVQUAL construct, which proved to be a valid, reliable and flexible tool for measuring quality in Greek hospitals. The human factor was revealed as being the most critical dimension of quality, reflecting the significance of the traditional view of the doctor-patient relationship. Quality gaps are illuminated, suggesting that there is room for improvement initiatives. Practical implications: The paper provides guidelines to hospital managers and policymakers as to developing strategies that aim at meeting patients' expectations of service quality and restoring trust in public hospitals. Originality/value: The paper sheds light on service quality, a critical aspect of hospital performance, drawing attention to patients' orientations. The study gives support to the view that quality in hospitals can be determined, measured and systematically monitored with the goal of responding to patients' needs.
- Health services
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management