Health care provider and policymakers are increasingly using patient satisfaction measures to assess the performance of health care organizations (Hibbard and Jewett 1996; Zaslavsky et al. 2000, Cited in Cho, W.H. Lee, H. Kim, C. Lee, S. and Choi, K.S. 2004). International accreditation agencies, such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA), have included satisfaction as a quality indicator (Fahad, F. A. 2005).
Patient opinions are important because dissatisfaction suggests opportunities for improvement. Patient satisfaction can lead to a higher rate of patient retention which affects customer loyalty (Nelson et al. 1992, Cited in Cho, W.H. Lee, H. Kim, C. Lee, S. and Choi, K.S. 2004).
Past research on patient satisfaction has also found a linkage between satisfaction and hospital utilization. Several studies presented evidence for an inverse relationship between satisfaction and the frequency of patient visits (Linn, Linn, and Stein 1982; Pascoe & Attkinsson 1983; West 1976). Given the prevailing view in the consumer behaviour literature that patient satisfaction has positively affects to loyalty. (Nelson et al. 1992, Cited in Hannele, H. Pekka, L. Kaija, N. 2001).
Hospitals in the developed world recognize the importance of delivering patient satisfaction as a strategic variable and a crucial determinant of long-term viability and success (Davies and Ware 1988; Makoul et al. 1995; Royal Pharmaceutical Society 1997 cited in fahad, F. A. 2005).
The SERVQUAL scale is a multiple-scale questionnaire that measures expectations and perceptions of service quality and evaluates the different aspects of quality under 5 dimensions: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. This model was adapted in 1990 for use in healthcare settings , and is now considered a suitable instrument for measuring the quality of care in hospital services. (Babakus & Mangold, 1990. Cited in Araceli, G. Susana, P. and Enrique, RG. 2005). The SERVQUAL dimensions such as Tangibles: The appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication materials, Reliability: The ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately, Responsiveness: The willingness to help customers and to provide prompt service, Assurance: The knowledge and courtesy of employers and their ability to convey trust and confidence, Empathy: The provision of caring, individualized attention to customers.
Several studies have found a positive relationship between patient satisfaction with health care and willingness to revisit the hospital (Atkins et al., 1996; Lee, 1998; Lee, 2001; Lumby and England, 2000; Scarding, 1994; Zifko-Baliga and Kramp, 1997. Cited in Aie, M. L. Hee, Y.Yo. (2007). Given the prevailing view in the consumer behaviour literature that patient satisfaction has positively affects to loyalty. (Nelson et al. 1992, Cited in Hannele, H. Pekka, L. Kaija, N. 2001).
It is very important to clarify the factors influencing the patients satisfaction with medical services, very little research has been performed in this area. Thus it is necessary to clarify this relationship, because this research can be used by management of Hospital as a basis for establishing strategies to improve patient satisfaction and thus lead them to visit the hospital again.