The Relationship among the Tangible and Intangible Health-care Service Quality, Acupuncture Outcome, Physician-patient Relationship, and Patient Satisfaction: Evidence from Patients with Soft Tissue Injury
Patient satisfaction has been studied a lot in health care. However, few studies focused on traditional Chinese medicine, particularly for acupuncture theory. The purpose of this study aimed to investigate the factors affecting the patient satisfaction and the relationships among those factors. This was a cross-sectional design with soft tissue injury patient receiving acupuncture therapy. One hundred and forty three questionnaires were collected from a southern regional teaching hospital. Descriptive analysis, factor analysis, and regression analysis were performed to attain the research purposes. The study found that: (1) Both “outcome of acupuncture therapy” and “physician-patient relationship” could have direct effect on “satisfaction of patients” and indirect effect on “satisfaction of patients” through perceived value. (2) “intangible service quality” could have direct effect on “satisfaction of patient,” but “tangible service quality” couldn’t. (3) Both intangible and tangible service quality could have no effect on “satisfaction of patients” through perceived value. (4) A comparison of the effect of each variable concerning patient satisfaction showed that “physician-patient relationship” was the best predictor for satisfaction; followed by “outcome of acupuncture therapy,” and “intangible service quality,” while “tangible service quality” had no significant influence. In conclusion, for patients who received acupuncture therapy to treat soft tissue injury, the “physician-patient relationship,” including communication between physicians and patients, response to patient’s suffering, consultation time, and physician explanation, were the most critical factor affecting patient satisfaction, even more decisive than outcome of acupuncture therapy. Those results showed that patients desire for more medical information and being treated in a caring manner. It is hoped that the above results can serve as future reference for the management and operation of medical institution of Chinese medicine.