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Original Research

Measuring tangibility and assurance as determinants of service quality for public health care in South Africa

J. De Jager, T. Du Plooy

Acta Commercii; Vol 7, No 1 (2007), 96-111. doi: 10.4102/ac.v7i1.17

Submitted: 05 December 2007
Published:  05 December 2007

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to measure service quality offered to patients treated in a government controlled hospital in South Africa.

Desig/Methodology/Approach: A service satisfaction survey was conducted amongst patients treated at a provincial hospital in Gauteng. The attitudes of the patients were tested regarding pre-identified service quality aspects related to health care. Tangibility and assurance categories are analysed for the purposes of this paper. A total of 583 in- and out-patients were selected at random and were personally interviewed. A five point Likert type scale was used to measure their expectations and perceived performance.

Findings: These indicated patient dissatisfaction with both service quality dimensions measured, although significant differences exist between in- and out-patients. Personal safety and cleanliness of facilities were regarded as the most important variables in the assurance and tangibility dimensions. The level of satisfaction was the highest for clear information signage and communication at an understandable level in the tangibility-and assurance categories, respectively.

Implications: This paper presents a comprehensive framework for prioritising important issues by provincial hospital management policy makers to satisfy patients' expectations and, because they have more authority over expenditure, the findings are important in the interest of supplying acceptable health care.

Originality/Value: This study challenges existing work on health care services. Its significance lies in investigating the diversified health care needs and wants of various cultural groups in South Africa, because it focuses on service quality as experienced by in- and out-patients. It offers a new framework from an original South African perspective, focusing on differences and similarities between in- and outpatients of a Gauteng public hospital.


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Author affiliations

J. De Jager, Department of Marketing, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
T. Du Plooy, Department of Marketing, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

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