Investigating word-of-mouth (WOM) factors influencing patients' physician choice and satisfaction
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Objectives: This study aims to determine the word-of-mouth constructs related to physician choice and to investigate relationships between the constructs and satisfaction. Method: A questionnaire consisted of three parts was conducted on people (n= 1193) living in the province of Eskisehir, Turkey. The first part contained sixteen statements related to word-of-mouth messages about choosing a physician. A traditional approach to scale development was utilized. Items in the second part were concerned with satisfaction as the dependent variable. The final part included demographic variables. Results: The results of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) revealed four valid WOM constructs (communication skill, expertise, reputation and success, and institutional facilities) and structural equation model (SEM) indicate that these constructs have both directly and indirectly effect on patient satisfaction. The results also showed that institutional facility mediated relationship between remaining factors and satisfaction. Conclusions: The relationships between physicians and patients have an indirect effect on potential patients. By understanding sources of patients' satisfaction and dissatisfaction, physicians can develop appropriate relationship strategies to minimize the adverse effects of negative word-of-mouth on costs, quality and patient turnover. The results of the current study provide suggestions for better health care management and further insight into the challenges of improving patient satisfaction.