A Social Network Approach to the Estimation of Perceived Quality of Health Care



Giulia Carletti1, Nicola Soriani2, Martina Mattiazzi3, Dario Gregori4, *
1 Department of Radiotherapy and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Oncologico Veneto, Padova, Italy
2 Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Cardiology, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
3 Customer Relation Office, Istituto Oncologico Veneto, Padova, Italy
4 Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Cardiology, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy


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© 2017 Carletti et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this authors at the Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padova, Via Loredan, 18, 35121 Padova – Italy; Tel: +390498275384; Fax: +39023902 700445089; E-mail: dario.gregori@unipd.it


Abstract

Background:

Measuring service quality aids health care providers to recognize specific and unmet needs of patients. Nevertheless, perceived quality of health care services (PQC) is often investigated with inadequate techniques which may lead to biased results.

Objective:

The aim of the present study is to develop a proof-of-concept for estimating the PQC using the scale-up estimator, with reference to a concrete assessment in patients of a major Oncology Hospital in Veneto (IOV). Results have then been compared with those collected by the Customer Relations Office (CRO) after the annual survey conducted with traditional questionnaire based techniques.

Material and Methods:

Seven hundred and eighty-three sets consisting of two questionnaires were handed out to IOV patients between 26 and 28 November 2012. The first questionnaire was the CRO annual one composed by 15 direct questions about the perception of quality satisfaction rate using a Likert scale. The second questionnaire was the scale-up (NSUM) one, composed by 20 indirect questions, 5 of which were reproducing the main target of CRO for estimating PQC.

Results:

The comparisons made over 299 sets of questionnaires showed differences between the two techniques. Network Scale-Up Method (NSUM) questionnaire seems to be able to produce lower estimates of PQC with respect to the CRO annual questionnaire. In some cases, the NSUM showed dissatisfaction rates which are 20-fold higher respect to CRO.

Conclusion:

NSUM could be a promising method for assessing the perceived quality of care.

Keywords: Perceived Quality of Care, Social Networks, Patient satisfaction, Network Scale-up Method, Customer Relations Office, Leave-one out.