This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring Customer Satisfaction in Regional Health Care: A Comparative Analysis of Direct and Indirect Experiences




Turner, Douglas Edward

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Today's health care providers, similar to many other industries in the service sector, are measuring their service attainment level through the administration of customer satisfaction surveys. This feedback containing the customer satisfaction information is typically appraised and used by an organization to focus efforts on improving the adequacy of the service and its delivery. When a survey instrument is utilized in a health care environment the customer satisfaction data are secured through feedback from patients in the form of post-treatment evaluations. These surveys measure the customers' perception of satisfaction based on their individual interaction with the various areas contained within the health care provider's domain. This sphere can be separated into six distinct areas of interaction: Admissions, Doctors, Nursing Staff, Other Medical Staff, Non Medical Staff, and Facilities. The sample data in this study segregates the respondents into two different categories of customers in the context of health care. The first is the traditional group as previously mentioned, ie, patients that are polled using post-treatment evaluations. This group is identified as those with "direct experience" (DE). The second group of individuals are those who have had an "indirect experience" (IE) in a health care system. These individuals are either visitors or observers and have not experienced the service as a patient. The premise that drives this research is that individuals with direct and indirect experience perceive quality differently. For example, IE individuals experience waiting room environments, nurses' stations, and unaccompanied travel through the facility. On the other hand, DE individuals are typically preoccupied with the actual delivery of the health care service.