Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

Managing the Quality of Medical Services from Patients' Perspective - Theory and Reality

Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

Managing the Quality of Medical Services from Patients' Perspective - Theory and Reality

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Healthcare is one of the areas where quality management is a priority. Due to patients' high expectations, the quality of offered services is constantly improving. These days patients expect not only effective and safe treatment but also genuine interest of medical staff.

Today patients can choose from a wide range of medical services, which is the result of a growing competition between healthcare providers. As a result, medical centres face new challenges and are increasingly concerned about preserving the proper image. They wish to be renowned for the high quality of their services in order to attract new clients and retain the existing ones.

In the light of the above, the major goal of the study was to assess and analyze the quality of medical services management. Researchers also defined the following minor tasks:

* to check the quality of services that patients receive from doctors, nurses and reception staff;

* to identify factors responsible for raising and lowering the quality of these services.

* Having completed the above tasks, the researchers formed the following theses:

* doctors, nurses and receptions staff are careful, friendly and can be characterized by excellent manners;

* the most annoying occurrences recorded by patients are long appointment waiting times, delayed visits, problems when registering for a specialist visit.

The practical part of the study consisted of personal interviews in which respondents were asked to fill in questionnaires (the PARI method). Researchers also used quota sampling approach. The questionnaires were given to 201 patients of three health facilities in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

2. Medical services market - characteristics

Unlike other services, providing society with medical care is a unique activity because it involves people's health, which is the basic factor responsible for demographic and social development of a country (Rogozifiski, 2006: 188).

Health is the ultimate value for everybody and can be compared to "wealth" of any society. It guarantees wellbeing and allows people to realize their aspirations and achieve life goals. Health protection and disease prevention are wise investments in civilisation development and bring desired, long-term effects. Realizing this potential leads to more and more people becoming interested in the subject (Lisiecka, 2010: 8).

Health is a remarkable commodity; it cannot be bought like a typical product. Without any doubt it is valuable, however it is impossible to name its price. The World Health Organization defines it as the feeling of full physical, mental and social wellbeing - not just the absence of illness or disability. Considering the above, it is understandable that a complex medical service should include three dimensions: physical, mental and social. It is only possible to achieve full wellbeing when these three factors are integrated and harmonized. Thus, healthcare facilities should make every effort to balance the three parts into one (Krot, 2008: 11-12).

Medical services and healthcare are strictly related. Healthcare involves disease prevention, patient care and treatment - virtually all resource which can be used to help the sick. Needless to say, successful disease prevention is particularly important as it eliminates the need of treatment. Using medical services is fundamentally different from a typical consumer behaviour. Instead of satisfying a temporary need, people understand the sense of investing money in something they wish to last - their own health. Therefore, it can be argued that demand for medical services is the reflection of people's demand for good health and wellbeing (Dolan, Olsen, 2008: 23).

A medical service can be defined as a set of actions performed during a patient's stay in a healthcare facility, intended to save, recover, and improve their health. The manner in which a medical service is provided depends on the relationship between the patient and medical staff and their respective involvement (Krot, 2008: 13-14). …

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