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Patient choice of a hospital: implications for health policy and management.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to identify the most important influencing factors in choosing a hospital by a patient.

DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH:

This study involved a mixed research design. Focus groups and in-depth individual interviews were conducted with patients to explore reasons for choosing a hospital. In addition, this study involved survey-based research on the patient choice.

FINDINGS:

Type of the hospital, type of the service, word of mouth, cost of services, the health insurance programme, location, physical environment, facilities, providers' expertise and interpersonal behaviour, and reputation of the hospital influenced patients' choice of a hospital. Doctor recommendations and health insurance programme were the main reasons for choosing a hospital for inpatients and outpatients respectively.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS:

Identifying and understanding key factors that influence a patient choice of a healthcare setting helps managers and policy makers invest their resources in those critical areas and improve those aspects of their services to attract more patients.

ORIGINALITY/VALUE:

This article contributes to healthcare theory and practice by developing a conceptual framework for understanding the factors that influence a patient choice of a healthcare setting.

PMID:
24745140
DOI:
10.1108/IJHCQA-11-2012-0119
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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