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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
JA designed the study. PL conducted the data collection. PL and JA analyzed the data. PL drafted the manuscript. JA and PL contributed to interpretation of findings and revision of the manuscript. JA supervised the study. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
Previous research has addressed the relationship between customer satisfaction, perceived quality and customer loyalty intentions in consumer markets. In this study, we test and compare three theoretical models of the quality–satisfaction–loyalty relationship in the Chinese healthcare system.
This research focuses on hospital patients as participants in the process of healthcare procurement. Empirical data were obtained from six Chinese public hospitals in Shanghai. A total of 630 questionnaires were collected in two studies. Study 1 tested the research instruments, and Study 2 tested the three models. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess the scales’ construct validity by testing convergent and discriminant validity. A structural equation model (SEM) specified the distinctions between each construct. A comparison of the three theoretical models was conducted via AMOS analysis.
The results of the SEM demonstrate that quality and satisfaction are distinct concepts and that the first model (satisfaction mediates quality and loyalty) is the most appropriate one in the context of the Chinese healthcare environment.
In this study, we test and compare three theoretical models of the quality–satisfaction–loyalty relationship in the Chinese healthcare system. Findings show that perceived quality improvement does not lead directly to customer loyalty. The strategy of using quality improvement to maintain patient loyalty depends on the level of patient satisfaction. This implies that the measurement of patient experiences should include topics of importance for patients’ satisfaction with health care services.