Development much supported.5 Evaluating service quality from

Development
of a country is mainly dependent upon a healthy human capital and it is the
foremost responsibility of any state to pay special attention to health sector.
Perceptions of patients are important regarding the evaluation of service
quality of health sector. Quality is generally defined as “The quality of scope
in the usage of product or service at certain level which meet the expected
requirement.”1 Perceived quality is the consumer’s comparison with
his expectations for the services he received, where he compares the expected
service against the perception.1, 2

Patients’
expectations whether medical or non-medical have an impact on their assessment
of care and satisfaction with the treatment outcome. Patient satisfaction is
directly linked to perceived performance and expectations. It responds to the
difference between earlier expectations and perceived performance after
consuming the medical services.2 It has been noticed that consumer’s
satisfaction increases as the level of service quality becomes high. This is
significant because the satisfied patients develop more positive perceptions
about the delivered medical services and these perceptions bring forth the
health care organizations with more faithful and cooperative customers, good
image, less staff turnover, and increased efficiency.3 Delivery of
high quality medical services leads to increased patients’ satisfaction,
increased employee’s self-esteem, and reduced costs of providing health
services.4

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The
assessment of patients’ perceptions about the quality of health services is
under observation in recent years as an important component of healthcare
evaluation. In the past, quality assessment was based only on clinical grounds
and patient perceptions and feedback were neglected in quality assessment
programs. Currently patient’s opinions and notions are highlighted in the
evaluation of health service quality and mere dependence on clinical efficacy
is not much supported.5 Evaluating service quality from the
patient’s point of view is important for the following reasons: 1- Patients
comprise an essential and complete source of information about accessibility or
efficacy of care. 2- A patient’s point of view directly effects his or her
compliance with treatment and the progression of patient-physician
relationship, and thus care outcome. 3- The measurement of patient perceptions
is a positive approach to the evaluation of quality of services, in distinction
to negative approaches that concentrate on the measurement of inadequate
processes or undesired outcomes.6

So,
it can be said that the patient’s perception of service quality has a vital
role in moulding the health sector market and the valid information about the patients’
expectations and perceptions has major effects on the advancement of service
quality in this sector.4 The current study is planned to investigate
the patients’ perceptions about the quality of medical services in Ayub
Teaching Hospital Abbottabad.