Health care enterprises make comprehensive and durable changes in people. This human-centered purpose defines the fundamental nature of quality in health care settings. Traditional perspectives of quality and familiar views of customer satisfaction are inadequate to manage the complex relationships between the health care delivery firm and its patients. Patients play four roles in health care systems that must be reflected when defining and measuring quality in these settings: patient as supplier, patient as product, patient as participant, and patient as recipient. This article presents a conceptual model of quality that incorporates these diverse patient roles. The strategic and managerial implications of the model are also discussed.
Address correspondence and requests for reprints to Cynthia A. Lengnick-Hall, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Management, W. Frank Barton School of Business, 1845 Fairmount, Clinton Hall, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 67260-0088.
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