Improving healthcare practice behaviors: An exploratory study identifying effective and ineffective behaviors in healthcare

David Van Fleet, Tim O. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the results of exploratory research designed to develop an awareness of healthcare behaviors, with a view toward improving the customer satisfaction with healthcare services. It examines the relationship between healthcare providers and their consumers/patients/clients. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses a critical incident methodology, with both effective and ineffective behavioral specimens examined across different provider groups. Findings – The effects of these different behaviors on what Berry (1999) identified as the common core values of service organizations are examined, as those values are required to build a lasting service relationship. Also examined are categories of healthcare practice based on the National Quality Strategy priorities. Research limitations/implications – The most obvious is the retrospective nature of the method used. How accurate are patient or consumer memories? Are they capable of making valid judgments of healthcare experiences (Berry and Bendapudi, 2003)? While an obvious limitation, such recollections are clearly important as they may be paramount in following the healthcare practitioners’ instructions, loyalty for repeat business, making recommendations to others and the like. Further, studies have shown retrospective reports to be accurate and useful (Miller et al., 1997). Practical implications – With this information, healthcare educators should be in a better position to improve the training offered in their programs and practitioners to better serve their customers. Social implications – The findings would indicate that the human values of excellence, innovation, joy, respect and integrity play a significant role in building a strong service relationship between consumer and healthcare provider. Originality/value – Berry (1999) has argued that the overriding importance in building a lasting service business is human values. This exploratory study has shown how critical incident analysis can be used to determine both effective and ineffective practices of different medical providers. It also provides guidelines as to what are effective and ineffective behaviors in healthcare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 14 2016


  • Education
  • Patient centredness
  • Patient perception
  • Quality healthcare
  • Service quality
  • User involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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