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Relevance of meeting general outpatients’ information needs to their perceptions of healthcare quality in a hospital in Ghana: a Healthcare Quality Survey using modified SERVQUAL analysis

BMJ Open Qual. 2024 Jun 10;13(2):e002683. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2023-002683.


BACKGROUND: Patients determine quality of healthcare by their perception of the gap between the healthcare they experience/receive and that which they expect. This can be influenced by the ability of healthcare staff to adequately communicate information about the healthcare provided. This study assessed the level of relevance of meeting patients’ information needs with respect to their assessment of healthcare quality in a private hospital’s general outpatient department in Ghana.

DESIGN: Study design was cross-sectional using exit self-administered questionnaires among 390 outpatients. Healthcare quality was measured using a modified form of the Service Quality model gap analysis (gap between experience and expectations). A negative gap signifies unmet patient expectations. Microsoft Excel and Stata V.15.0 were used for analysis using t-test and multiple linear regression. A p value ≤0.05 denotes statistical significance.

FINDINGS: The mean percentage of patients’ expectations of quality of healthcare was 87.6% (SE 0.031), while patient experience was 86.0% (SE 0.029), with a significant negative gap of -0.08 (p<0.002). Their highest expectation of the quality of healthcare was for their information needs to be met, with a mean score of 4.44 (SE 0.03). Two of the four items under the information needs dimension that showed no statistically significant gaps were ‘saying all their problems’ (gap=0.00; p<0.9) and ‘explanation of treatment/medications’ (gap=0.01; p<0.6). Those with statistically significant negative gaps were ‘explanation of investigations and procedures’ (gap=-0.18; p<0.0001) and ‘explanation of the diagnoses’ (gap=-0.11; p<0.02), signifying unmet expectations.

CONCLUSIONS: The outpatient’s greatest need for quality healthcare in this study was for their information needs to be met. Providing information on patient diagnoses and investigations are the areas least likely to be adequately communicated to patients.

PMID:38858077 | DOI:10.1136/bmjoq-2023-002683

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