Assessment of Expected and Perceived Service Quality in Nigerian Public Hospitals
Although there is a proliferation of studies on the quality of health care in developed countries, this research is based in an emerging economy in Africa. Providing services to customers based on their needs and expectations is essential for the success of any service provider, and a key factor in providing high quality service. This study uses a combination of secondary data, along with primary data that was collected from a sample of 200 Nigerian hospital patients, from three public hospitals, using a questionnaire based on the five SERVQUAL dimensions (Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance, and Empathy), that were adapted to fit with the study’s objectives. The results were analyzed using SPSS and revealed a strong statistical significant difference (p >.000), between patients’ expectations and perceptions (experience) of service quality. The greatest discrepancy (gap) was for the Assurance dimension; as well as for the Overall Service Delivery. These differences between service expectations and perceptions implied that patients’ expectations were not being met after experiencing public hospital services in Nigeria. This calls for management and personnel to leverage this information and to use it to develop a strategic framework, implement personnel training programs, and to design a program to ensure improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the hospital service delivery system. Continuous evaluation is needed to ensure that increased service performance, and the interest of the customer, is placed first.