Quality of Services Provided in Dental Clinics at University of Palestine: Patients Perception and Expectation
Hammouda Salah mohammed Shublaq
حموده صلاح محمد شبلاق
Dental services delivered in many countries worldwide where sophisticated clients expect quality care. Several recent studies have placed a greater emphasis on patient satisfaction than service quality, while others have focused only on service provider viewpoint. The researcher aimed in this study to assess the quality of services provided in dental clinics at University of Palestine according to patients' perspective by studying the possible gap existed between their perception and expectation. Triangulated, analytical cross-sectional study design was used, quantitative data were collected through self-administered structure questionnaire (Servqual) filled with a sample of 353 adult patients attended dental clinics at University of Palestine who were selected by convenience sampling technique (153 males and 200 females). The questionnaire was sent to a group of experts to examine the face and content validity. The questionnaire's validity and reliability were tested in a pilot study with 30 participants, and the Cronbach alpha coefficient was 0.88. Qualitative data were collected through focus group interviews with eighteen participants divided into three groups. The findings revealed that the service quality delivered to patients in dental clinics at University of Palestine was high as their perception exceeded their expectation, with highest score in expectation was in assurance (M=3.83) and highest score in perception was equal in assurance and empathy with mean score (M= 4.20) while lowest score in expectation and perception was in responsiveness (M=3.70 ). According to the findings of this study, there were statistically significant differences in patient expectations about the quality of service in the UP dental clinic based on age of patients and marital status. These findings revealed that younger, single patients had higher expectations for the quality of dental services than older age married, divorced, or widowed patients with (F test 6.525, P 0.001;F test 5.192, P 0.006) respectively moreover patients aged 51 years and more expressed significant lower perception about responsiveness compared to younger age patients with ( F test 3.892, P 0.004)and patients from the north governorate expressed significant lower perception about tangibles compared to patients from the middle governorate (P= 0.002) and patients from Khanyounis (P= 0.030). The qualitative findings consistent with the quantitative findings, particularly with regards to the level of service quality provided in dental clinics at the University of Palestine, where the majority of participants stated that the level of service quality exceeded their expectations. There is a need to establish a quality control unit that, among other things, should adopt a quality assurance policy and conduct regular patient satisfaction measurements in order to improve the quality of services provided on a regular basis, improving patient satisfaction and service quality by decreasing patient wait times. There is also a need to increase the patients’ trust in employees and physicians,finally, itisimportantthatcare providers continue their education in patient-centered care.