Patient assessment of the quality of dental care services in a Nigerian hospital

Ezekiel Taiwo Adebayo, Bola Ayodele Adesina, Lilian Ejije Ahaji, Nurudeen Ayoola Hussein


Dental care services are available in many urban communities worldwide where discerning and sophisticated clients expect quality care. Many available studies evaluated satisfaction rather than quality of dental care; others did not reveal the patients’ perception of gaps in the quality of care. Service quality (SERVQUAL) tool assesses quality of service based on the dimensions of tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy as described by Parasuraman et al. (1985). The aim of this study was to assess the gaps in quality of dental care in a Nigerian government owned dental clinic using an unweighted SERVQUAL tool to determine the difference between expectations and perceptions of patients. Consenting patients seen during the study period were given a 32-items questionnaire divided equally between expectations and perception of quality of dental care services received. Out of 112 questionnaires analysed, patients had the most expectation for neatness (4.69 ± 0.85) and least for pain free treatment (3.76 ± 1.16). Highest perception was for knowledgeable clinic staff (4.34 ± 0.71) while support to enable staff work well was the least perceived quality (3.73 ± 0.86). Overall, among the 5 dimensions of quality, there were marked statistically significant quality gaps in assurance (p = .0001) and tangibles (p = .0006). This study showed that patients in a Nigerian government-owned dental clinic, there is need for greater attention to be paid to assurance, tangibles and reliability dimensions of service quality to improve patient perceptions.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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