Quality Signals in Healthcare Services: An Integrative View from Physical Therapy Service Providers and Consumers in Thailand
Many highly competent healthcare service providers find it difficult to discreetly convey to consumers the level of quality of their services. Building on the signaling theory and prior literature on service quality, this paper explores how to appropriately signal quality. It integrates the perspectives of both healthcare service providers and consumers with regard to sending service quality signals. The five service quality dimensions at the core of this research include tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, empathy, and assurance. The study uses a mixed methodology. The qualitative approach involves interviews with clinic owners and consumers and the quantitative one a survey collected from 181 consumers. The results indicate that the top two signals are the reliability and physical therapist assurance dimensions. The primary focus of consumers is on the technical knowledge and skills of physical therapists and the extent to which they can be trusted and relied upon to improve their health and well-being. This study will help to bridge the communication gap between service providers and consumers.