Development of HospitalQual: A Service Quality Scale for Measuring In-patient Services in Hospital


Author

A Ramaiah Itumalla
School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana State, India

G.V.R.K Acharyulu
School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana State, India

B. Raja Shekhar
School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana State, India


Content

Service quality has become a major concern for both the hospitals and the patients. The increase in competition coupled with the increased patients’ perception of service quality makes it difficult for hospitals to provide services that meet patient satisfaction. Recognition of the importance of service quality is the need of the hour in order to provide better services to the patients. The objectives of the present study are to identify the critical factors of inpatient service quality in a hospital and to develop the HospitalQual theoretical model to measure inpatient service quality. The present study was explorative and descriptive in its nature. An empirical study was conducted in a public hospital located in Hyderabad, India. The data was collected through a self administered questionnaire from 246 in-patients with a purposive sampling technique. The statistical techniques such as factor analysis and the multiple regression were used in the data analysis. The study has identified the factors to measure the inpatient service quality and developed a comprehensive instrument i.e. “HospitalQual” with seven dimensions, namely; medical, nursing, support, administrative services, patient safety, communication and hospital infrastructure. In addition, the supportive services are found to be the most important factor to predict the overall inpatient service quality, followed by nursing services, administrative services, medical services, patient communication patient safety and hospital infrastructure. The application of HospitalQual would help to identify the gaps in each of the dimensions over a period of time and enable hospital administrators to monitor, control and improve the inpatient service quality in a hospital.

Keywords: hospital, hospitalqual, service quality

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Service quality has become a major concern for both the hospitals and the patients. Hospital today is very different from what it was a couple of decades ago. The increase in competition coupled with the increased patients’ perception of service quality makes it difficult for hospitals to provide services that meet patient satisfaction. Recognition of the importance of service quality is the need of the hour in order to provide better services to the patients. Identification of the determinants of service quality is one of the burning issues before services research (Johnston, 1995). The identification of determinants of service quality is necessary in order to measure, control, and improve customer perceived service quality.

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The present study is explorative and descriptive in its nature. An empirical study was conducted in a public hospital located in Hyderabad, India. Since it became impossible to conduct the focused group discussion (FGDs) with the inpatients, the study initially conducted twenty indepth interviews to identify the variables of inpatient service quality. Apart from this, people from industry and academia were consulted and also utilized the existing literature in the process of identifying the variables of service quality. However, the inpatients’ interviews were used as the focal point, because the study was intended to identify the service quality dimensions from the inpatient’s perceptions. The study is adopted a purposive sample method and the data was collected from 246 inpatients through a self administered questionnaire.

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The present study explains the process of developing the HospitalQual theoretical model. The exploratory factor analysis resulted in seven critical factors of perceived inpatient service quality in the hospital. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses about the significant effect of extracting critical factors i.e. medical service, nursing service, support services, administrative services, patient safety, patient communication, and hospital infrastructure on overall inpatient service quality in the hospital. The test proved that all the factors have a significant effect on inpatient service quality. In addition, the supportive services are found to be the most important factor to predict the overall inpatient service quality, followed by nursing services, administrative services, medical services, patient communication, patient safety, and hospital infrastructure.

The application of HospitalQual would help to identify the gaps in each of the dimensions over a period of time and enable hospital administrators to monitor, control, and improve the inpatient service quality. Thus, the HospitalQual will help in pinpointing the areas of managerial attention and action to improve inpatient service quality in hospitals. The present study has limitations of generalizability of the research findings across hospitals in other parts of the state and the country. However, the HospitalQual theoretical model needs to be validated for the generalization with advanced statistical tools like Structure Equation Modeling (SEM). In essence, the study highlighted the critical factors of service quality and demonstrated in the context of inpatient hospital services.

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About Author

Ramaiah Itumalla is a full time research scholar at School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, India. He has published more than 16 articles in National and International Journals apart from presenting several papers at national and international conferences in Singapore and Thailand. His research interest includes Healthcare Service Quality, Public Heath, Managed Insurance and Hospital Management.

Dr. G.V.R.K Acharylu is Associate Professor and Coordinator, MBA Healthcare and Hospital Management at the School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, India. He has published around 50 research papers in national and international journals and presented several papers at international conferences in USA, UAE, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. He has authored books viz. Supply Chain Management in Healthcare Industry, Emerging Trends in Healthcare Industry, Pharmacy Administration, Research Methodology & Statistical Tools, Marketing Research, Supply Chain Management and Strategic Quality Management. His research areas include Healthcare Management, Operations, Supply chain Management and Theory of Constraints.

Prof. B. Raja Shekhar is an engineer and a manager by education, a teacher and academic administrator by choice, a trainer and scholar by profession at School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad. He has published more than 50 research papers in national and international journals and presented several papers at international conferences in UAE, Singapore and Thailand. He has authored several books and he is also a well known recourse person in India for research methodology. His primary areas of interests include Research Methodology, Quantitative Techniques, Operations Management and Research, Quality Management, Supply Chain Management, Project Management and Consumer Protection.