Interpreting professional service quality: A Study of General Practice Medicine

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Schembri, Sharon
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Surfers Paradise, QLD, Australia
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2006
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Surfers Paradise, QLD, Australia
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Abstract

This interpretive study investigates consumer understanding of professional service quality. The research focus is the consumer's experience of professional service quality and the research goal is to identify and describe the varying ways that consumers experience professional service quality. The primary aim of this interpretive, specifically phenomenographic, study is a detailed description of the qualitatively different ways that consumers understand professional service quality. Importantly, such a description aims to include all variations in understanding and it is therefore a priority not to dismiss inefficient or seemingly unbefitting ways of understanding professional service quality. The context-dependency of experience requires the specification of one service context to situate the study prior to any potential informant selection. Assuming that the general population has at one time or another visited their doctor, for this initial reason, the context of General Practice (GP) medicine was selected as the specific profession to contextualise this work. The design of this phenomenographic study of professional (GP) service quality is a two-phase approach, deliberately taken to allow for initial exploration and preliminary analysis, followed by a second phase of data collection and final analysis. In terms of data collection methods, the two phases of this study entailed observation of the doctor-patient consultation and patient interviews post-consultation. Observation was achieved unobtrusively via a wall-mounted camera. Patient interviews were conducted as soon as possible following the patient's consultation with their doctor. Given the value we attribute to our health, the quality of health care services is a priority in our society, as it is within the medical profession. Hence, research that aims to further our understanding of GP service quality seems worthwhile.

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Proceedings of the 7th International Interdisciplinary Conference Advances in Qualitative Methods
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Sociology not elsewhere classified
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