|dc.description.abstract||Due to increased provision by the private sector, the health care industry in New Zealand is rapidly becoming more competitive (Zwier, 1998). As a result, the implementation of reliable service quality questionnaires is becoming more important as greater value is placed on patient satisfaction by health care providers (Zwier, 1998). Despite this, research into health care patients' perceptions of service quality dimensions in New Zealand is scarce. This study takes a step towards addressing this deficiency by identifying patients' perceptions of service quality dimensions in North Canterbury, New Zealand.
The findings of this study are based on the analysis of a sample of 389 respondents interviewed by telephone. The findings indicate that the service quality dimensions identified in this study differ in number and content from the widely adopted service quality dimensions identified by Parasuraman et al. (1988). In addition, health care patients in North Canterbury perceive service quality dimensions relating to the core product in health care delivery (for example, outcome and reliability) as more important than service quality dimensions relating to the peripheral product in health care delivery (for example, food, access and tangibles). Finally, the results of this study indicate that patients with different geographic, demographic, psychographic and behaviouristic characteristics have different needs and wants during health care delivery and therefore perceive different service quality dimensions as important.
This study contributes to services marketing theory by providing empirical research into health care patients’ perceptions of service quality dimensions in a setting different from Europe and North America. In addition, this study provides health care professionals with insights regarding: the development of more reliable service quality questionnaires, the allocation of health care resources, understanding the needs of out-patients compared to in-patients, and understanding the needs of private patients compared to public patients.||en