Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia
Background and objectives: Services quality has become the major concern of policy-makers in the present rapidly growing consumer-oriented health industry. However, there is a major gap in the relevant literature in Malaysia in this particular field. Thus, this research attempted to narrow this gap by conducting a qualitative study to gain insight into quality of healthcare services in the Malaysian private hospitals, as perceived by the patients. Methods: This interview-based study was conducted between November 2013 and January 2014. A sample of fourteen patients was randomly selected for interview, from three major Malaysian private hospitals, including Kuala Lumpur Pantai Hospital, Prince Court Medical Centre, and KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital. Interview data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire designed based on literature review. The major themes of healthcare services quality was extracted by iterative review of the interview transcripts. Findings: Analysis of interview data identified three important aspects of healthcare services quality as perceived by the interviewed patients, including cost and location of services delivery, the quality of patient care, availability of adequate facilities. Conclusions: By identifying major factors of patient satisfaction in the private healthcare sector, this study can guide development of effective strategies leading to a higher quality of health services in Malaysia. The study also sets a baseline for future large-scale studies aimed at improving understanding of patients’ unmet expectations from the health system.