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Antecedents of Service Quality Gaps in Private Hospitals of Ahmednagar: A Critical Inquiry into the Hospital Attributes
The enhancement in "Service Quality" as a competitive advantage for enhanced customer satisfaction is the truth that has been realized by service providers and health care industry shall be no exception to it. This realization along with the shift in government policies from welfare state to regulator and putting the onus on private players through globalization, liberalization and privatization have contributed to the enhanced focus on service delivery, customer satisfaction and inquiry and addressing of gaps in the "Service Quality". The burgeoning middle class with disposable income and information at hand is ready to shell out but at the same time is more demanding for value creation. Various types of hospitals including those governed by trust which either has specified for profit and not for profit as their motive or hospitals affiliated to medical colleges are rendering their services to patients in rural areas where premium government hospitals such as All India institute of Medical sciences are not available. The present study is an attempt to understand the patient expectations, their opinion and perception of "Service Quality" and identify and understand the gaps in the "Service Quality". The study has presented a unique dimension by taking into consideration the relative importance or weightage of each parameter of "Service Quality" and further investigating the gaps in "Service Quality" on each dimension between the types of hospitals and departments of hospitals. The study revealed that amongst all of the criteria 'reliability', was ranked the top most followed by 'responsiveness'', 'assurance' and 'empathy'. The 'tangibility', of services was perceived to be least important amongst the entire service dimension. Further it was observed that the patient expectations exceeded their perceptions for all service dimensions. Moreover such a gap was observed highest amongst the 'reliability', dimension followed by 'assurance', 'empathy' and 'responsiveness''. The type of hospital was not a significant differentiator on this count but the department and duration of patient stay in hospital significantly influenced the gaps in the "Service Quality".
Gap in Service Quality, Private Hospitals, Service Quality, Wards.
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