Document Type : Original Article
Clinical Research Development Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz, IR Iran
Health Management and Economics Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, IR Iran
Department of Health Services Management, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, IR Iran
Department of Health Services Management, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran
Introduction: Medical tourism is a main source of national income. Thus, evaluating the viewpoints of medical tourists about the quality of service provided by healthcare centers may be useful in planning to develop this industry. The present study aimed to measure the gap between medical tourists' expectations and perceptions of the quality of service offered by the hospitals in Shiraz using the SERVQUAL model.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed on 200 medical tourists referred to hospitals in the city of Shiraz which is located in the south of Iran. The subjects were selected randomly over the first 6 months of 2013. Data collection tools were a descriptive questionnaire and an adaptation of the SERVQUAL questionnaire.
Results: The results showed that the mean age of medical tourists was 49.67 and most of them were from Oman. Overall, the patients' expectations exceeded their perceptions of the provided quality of service, and all gap mean scores were negative. The largest negative gap score pertained to reliability with an overall average of -0.59, followed by responsibility, assurance, tangibility, empathy, and access to care.
Conclusion: The research findings can effectively help managers identify problems with the current quality of service and improve performance so as to increase the medical tourists' satisfaction level. Also, highlighting the most important service attributes, which are highly attractive to patients, will help authorities improve their operation performance and develop innovative ideas on both strategic and tactical levels.