ABSTRACT: Context The paper refers to the increased competition between health care providers and the need for patient-centred services in Greece. Using service quality methodology, this paper investigates service quality perceptions of patients in Greek public primary health centres. Objective To test the internal consistency and applicability of SERVQUAL in primary health care centres in Greece. Strategy SERVQUAL was used to examine whether patients have different expectations from health care providers and whether different groups of patients may consider some dimensions of care more important than others. Results The analysis showed that there were gaps in all dimensions measured by SERVQUAL. The largest gap was detected in empathy. Further analysis showed that there were also differences depending on gender, age and education levels. A separate analysis of expectations and perceptions revealed that this gap was because of differences in patients' perceptions rather than expectations. Discussion and conclusions This paper raises a number of issues that concern the applicability of SERVQUAL in health care services and could enhance current discussions about SERVQUAL improvement. Quality of health care needs to be redefined by encompassing multiple dimensions. Beyond a simple expectations-perceptions gap, people may hold different understandings of health care that, in turn, influence their perception of the quality of services.
Health expectations: an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy 02/2012; · 1.80 Impact Factor