Investigating the Factors Influencing Patient Satisfaction

Updated: Apr 5, 2018

at a Private Medical Centre in Northern Namibia



Enos Moyo, Sadrag P. Shihomeka, Moses Chirimbana


Medical Centre Oshakati

University of Namibia

University of Namibia


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.31014/aior.1991.01.01.8



ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to investigate factors affecting patient satisfaction at a private medical centre in Northern Namibia. The study was guided by the following objectives: to explore the factors affecting patients’ satisfaction at the private medical centre; to investigate factors that can improve patient satisfaction at the centre and to suggest recommendations to management on how they can increase patients’ satisfaction. A quantitative research design was adopted in the study through the use of a closed-ended questionnaire which was on a five point Likert scale. Expectation Confirmation Theory was the underlying theoretical framework for this study. Data was gathered from 50 participants above the age of 18 years selected by systematic random sampling from all the patients above the age of 18 years who were attended to at the practice over ten working days. The findings showed that factors that affected patient satisfaction to a greater extent were waiting period before seeing a doctor, availability of doctor during and after working hours and thoroughness of doctor’s examination and care. The study concluded that further studies should be done using a larger sample across many organisations. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that an electronic filing system be used at the practice and practice cell phones should be available to doctors so that patients can be able to reach them for emergencies after working hours.


INTRODUCTION

The private general medical practice that was established in 2008. The practice was established in northern Namibia because there were few private practices there at that time and there was a potential for the practice to grow. The practice employs two medical doctors, one nurse, two receptionists, an accounts clerk and a cleaner. When it started operating, the centre was attending to six patients a day. However, the number increased gradually up to a peak of forty patients a day by the end of 2015. Management attributed this increase to the fact that people in the community were now used to the doctors who were working at the practice since they had been there from 2008 when the practice started.

The expectation confirmation theory was used as the theoretical framework of the study. It is a cognitive theory which seeks to explain post-purchase or post-adoption satisfaction of customers. It was developed by Richard. L. Oliver in 1977. The theory originally appeared in the psychology and marketing literatures (Baharum and Jaafar 2015). Expectation confirmation theory involves four primary constructs: expectations, perceived performance, disconfirmation of beliefs, and satisfaction (Lankton and McKnight 2012). Expectation confirmation theory posits that expectations, coupled with perceived performance, lead to post-purchase satisfaction and this effect is mediated through positive or negative disconfirmation between expectations and performance (Baharum and Jaafar 2015). If a client enters a contract with a service provider and the client’s expectations are exceeded in a positive way, the client is satisfied with the service (Abdulwahab and Kabir 2014).


Patient satisfaction is very important for the profitability of private practices and hospitals. Accreditation, business improvement, and risk management are some of the other reasons patient satisfaction is important to a practice. Retention of patients at the practice will lead to profitability and growth of the business (Hosseini 2016). This research was able to identify factors that lead to patient satisfaction/dissatisfaction at the centre. Researching on patient satisfaction can offer patients an opportunity to participate in their care by reporting their care experiences and building engagement. This benefitted the patients too as the practice was able to tailor its services according to the patients’ needs. Patient satisfaction research represents real-time feedback for service providers and show opportunities to improve services or decrease risks. By implementing the recommendations given by the patients on improving their satisfaction, the practice might have been able to improve patient satisfaction which might have led to reduced litigations. Improving the quality of care is becoming more vital in the health industry than ever before (Nunu and Munyewende 2017).


When it comes to quality of care, the practice should look at its patients for opportunities for improvement and this is what the study addressed. This study supplied statistically reliable data which promoted informed decision making by management. It helped open a dialogue with the patients and this helped them know that management listens to them. This patient relationship building might have earned the practice word of mouth referrals. This research might also have been beneficial to other medical practices in Northern Namibia because the researchers wished to present the findings of the study to the local doctors’ association on factors that contribute to patient satisfaction and how patient satisfaction can be improved at private medical practices.


(Please download the full paper to read more)


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