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Patient Satisfaction in Healthcare

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1.1 Introduction

One of central tendency in the advancement of current healthcare institutions is the association of clients or patients in treatment and care, as the management philosophy. This action has been recognized in modern health planning in all healthcare jurisdictions. The Healthcare Strategy Fairness and Quality make a specialized orientation to the insertion of clients or patients in the fundamental and National Goals. In order to maintain this advancement, it is significant to recognize that the knowhow of clients, or patients of healthcare, differ considerably. Some of the healthcare professionals may be using an occasional intervention while others have a long-term relationship, more permanent service provider which depends on the extent and the nature of the necessity.

Person based healthcare respects the customers’ dignity, and the value of every person. It is wholly proper and desirable that the clients’ views regarding the quality of service be sought out on their knowhow and desires of healthcare. This paper is structured to feature both supportive and helpful guideline to the patient satisfaction implementation for healthcare service providers. The strategy elaborates the steps underwent in the efforts of establishing measures of users and patients satisfaction and various strategies that are available. An explained outline to maintain staff in their work is as well included. The strategies of measuring the customer satisfaction and the means to measure it make the main bit of this paper.

1.2 Research Questions

Based on the paper requirements, the following are the research questions that make the whole body of research. The aim is to respond to questions (RQs) hereafter presented (Department of Health and Children, 2001).

Which are the main aspects that can best explain satisfaction’s concept of healthcare patient?

The complicated nature of healthcare patient satisfaction’s concept entails the elements to be examined. These elements are entirely recognized with respect to the patient perspective. In general terms, a critical facet in the healthcare patient satisfaction’s investigation involves that instruments and models, which most of the times reflect the suppliers’ perspective slightly than the clients’ one (Calnan, 1988). Therefore, in order to conduct a comprehensive monitor on healthcare patient satisfaction, questionnaires are not entirely fair in identifying the main facets of healthcare. Surveys will, therefore, include the determination of the concepts in this study. On the same note, it is significantly crucial to make use of correct and scientifically accurate methods to measure the experience of healthcare patient, in order to get meaningful and accurate facts and figures produced.

Which are the organizational and personal qualities that explain better the variability of healthcare patient satisfaction?

A quite large quantity of studies has analyzed how healthcare patients’ perception of care services’ levels of quality is predisposed by their prospects, socio-demographic features and clinical requirements. Moreover, in the recent studies, various features of the outside surrounding have been identified as an additional pleasure influencing customer evaluation. Concentration should mainly be observed to whether variations are present across various organizations like hospitals. A combined evaluation analysis of all the individual and contextual features permits taking into account the main facet influencing overall healthcare patients’ satisfaction. In addition, adjustments regarding the patients’ ratings are also compared across various organizations (McGee, 1998).

Which are the main elements, which should be considered to create patient oriented healthcare services?

In the course of the previous years, healthcare have drastically varied their means of operating and delivering services, according to Studer Group. They have recognized patients as the chief stake holders in the overall healthcare process. Even various current organizational models are to be implemented in the efforts of providing patient-centered services.

What are the leaders’ roles in ensuring healthcare patients satisfaction?

What are the ethical behaviors that ensure patients satisfactions?

1.3 Purposes of the Study

The researcher will establish the purpose for conducting this research before explaining the mode of collecting data. According to Studer Group (2000: 21) and Yin (2003: 3), the purpose of conducting research can either be Exploratory, Descriptive or Explanatory in nature. Exploratory research work is conducted when the research issues have remarkably little or even no earlier studies from which to infer information. ‘Why’ and ‘How’ questions are more usual within exploratory researches and in most times require the use of case studies, historical data and observations. This variety of research formulates questions and opens up access for new phenomena for future researches. In general terms, it needs to be undertaken by the researcher in order to understand the problem in detail. It does not confirm or test hypothesis, but aims at searching for patterns, ideas and hypotheses, as well as suggest direction for future research (Yin 2003; Hussey & Hussey 1997; Neuman 2000).

2. Literature review

2.1 Introduction

Understanding healthcare patients’ satisfaction and the quality of service that different health organizations have for a long time have been recognized to be crucial. This is because they are used to plan and develop service improvement plans. The initial quality assurance service identifies the magnitude of patients’ satisfaction and provides most of the foundation for research work in the field of healthcare quality assurance. Within the healthcare sectors, the need of measuring patients’ satisfaction is extremely well pointed out with the patients’ satisfaction having been measured and studied extensively as the turning point paradigm, as well as a component for outcome quality. In particular, quality healthcare assessment studies must be conducted to cover the remaining gap. In addition, the literature shows that the facet of customer satisfaction is difficult irrespective of any field in which the study is conducted. It remains a multidimensional model; yet to be tightly defined and a part of an apparent, it is to be determined as complex model. Importance divergences have been witnessed in the recent years, in various healthcare literatures.

2.2 Summary of Theories of Healthcare Patient Satisfaction

The main healthcare patient satisfaction theories were initially published in the 1980s. Nowadays, there are more theories, but most of them largely remain “restatements” of the old theories. There are five healthcare theories that can be well identified:

(1)   Fox and Storms (1981) theory of Discrepancy and transgression. They advocated that, since patients’ healthcare point of reference is different and service provider conditions of healthcare are also differed, if direction and conditions are made congruent then patients would become satisfied, and if not, satisfied then purely dissatisfied.

(2)  Linder-Pelz (1982) with the theory of Expectancy-value. He postulated that satisfaction was arbitrated by individuals’ values and beliefs about health care and services and earlier expectations regarding care. He identified pivotal connection between variance and expectations in rating satisfaction, which was offered an operational interpretation for patients’ satisfaction. He referred to it as “positive evaluations of varied magnitude of healthcare”; his model was developed to account for the influence of prospects on satisfaction. Further, it was developed to make the six psychological model factors: multidimensional construct, cognitive and affective perception formation; iterative; attitudinal response; dynamic process; and ameliorated by personal difference.

(3)   Ware et al. (1983) whose theory was: Determinants and components. They propounded that, patient satisfaction is the syntax of patients’ subjective reaction to experienced healthcare attributed by their individual preferences and potentials.

(4)   Fitzpatrick & Hopkins (1983) Multiple models theory argued that opportunities were socially reflected, mediating the healthcare goals of patient and extents to which diseases and healthcare dishonored the patient’s individual sense of self.

(5)   Donabedian (1980) theory of Healthcare quality. He proposed that satisfaction is the main, principal result of interpersonal procedure of healthcare. He argued that, various expression of patients satisfaction and dissatisfaction is reflecting the patient’s judgment based on the quality of healthcare in each its facet. However, this was particularly regarded in relation to interpersonal constitutes of care.

2.3 The Application of Healthcare Patients’ Satisfaction in the Organization

The desired necessity for the determination of patients’ satisfaction has been widely driven by the fundamental politics of the “new public management” and the rise of concomitant in the healthcare consumer movement. Patient satisfaction became one of the most articulated objectives of healthcare service delivery. The argument over the association between patients’ satisfaction as an evaluation of care and the standard process of technical care was well established, due to the improvement of the patients’ rights movement (Research Unit, 2000). Ultimately patient satisfaction measures used in the healthcare sectors increasingly became widespread. A sound example is the assessing of patients’ satisfaction that has been made compulsory for French healthcare, since 1998. This has been used to upgrade the healthcare atmosphere, patient facilities and amenities in an entrepreneurial sense, though not specifically to upgrade healthcare. While there are numerous actual patient satisfactions learning’s, which are published in various peer journals, only a small part of the work which entirely reviews the literature analyses of the hypothesis and how it is used. This paper highlights the agreement that, patient satisfaction experience from conceptualization inadequacy of the hypothesis, in an atmosphere that has remained stagnant significantly for a long time, since the 1970s. There has been no agreed definition. Various researchers have identified numerous studies investigating the useful methodological concerns and 138 readings investigating the satisfaction determinants.

Satisfaction in healthcare has not been still achieved and that comprehending the procedure, by which patients become either satisfied or dissatisfied, remain unanswered. Several suggestions were made that satisfaction is relatively a concept and that it can only imply adequate service. In addition, patient satisfaction remains cognitive evaluations of the healthcare services that are affected emotionally; therefore, it is a person subjective perception (Baum, 1990). Other researcher also highlights that there is defined and consistent evidence, which run across settings in that the most crucial determinants of patients’ satisfaction are based on the interpersonal association and their associated aspects of care. The agreement is that patients’ satisfaction has been identified as an endpoint in the outcome researches and the benchmarking of healthcare services. Patient satisfaction, therefore, come to be defined as an important part of healthcare outcome on quality, which also entails the clinical outcomes, monetary measures and healthcare associated life quality (Hall & Milburn, 1998).

2.4 Healthcare Patient Satisfaction Measuring Instruments

Hulka et al. (1970) research led to beginning of measuring patients’ satisfaction within the healthcare organizations. This was so, due to the growth of the “Satisfaction with Physician and Primary Care Scale” campaigns. This work was succeeded by that of by Ware & Snyder (1975) which introduced “Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire” and aimed to assist the administration, planning and evaluation in healthcare service release programs. During the late 1970s, the “Client Satisfaction Questionnaire” came to being introduced by Larsen et al. (1979). This was an eight-entry scale that was used in assessing the common patient satisfaction in healthcare services, which is claimed as healthcare satisfaction by the “Patient Satisfaction Scale” term (1984). After then, numerous instrument used for measuring patients satisfactions have been introduced, but the validity and reliability of the instruments still remain in question. In addition, healthcare patients’ satisfaction measurement differed according to various assumptions that are formulated regarding to what satisfaction is all about. Various approaches regarding measurement are identified as expectancy-disconfirmation; technical-functional split; performance only; attribute importance and satisfaction versus service quality. Nguyen et al. (1983) pointed out that, due to lack of a proved standardized instruments and satisfaction scores crosswise, studies were expensive, and it was next to impossible to conclude significant comparisons between various patient satisfaction scores scale. To add on this, Ware et al. (1983) indicated that between forty and sixty percent of all the respondents show some style of agreeable response set discrimination. Williams (1999) pointed out that, due to dependence, patients were not in a position to report any dissatisfaction. Furthermore, patients’ satisfaction tools have only been progressed in USA for the purpose of “ad hoc” healthcare use. Hardy et al. (1996) noticed that healthcare satisfaction measuring tools had been widely researched on and identified more than three thousand articles that were published and several dozens of satisfaction measuring tools being developed, like ten years preceding their review. More interesting, they kept the note that patient’s prospective quality care had been measured severally as healthcare patients’ satisfaction. Research reveals that only a certain percentage of the developed tools were methodologically and theoretically accurate. Amazingly, out of the five, it was only two, which were structured to measure the perceived service quality.

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