Patients’ preference of public and private hospitals: evidence from Kumasi and Bibiani in The Ashanti & Western Regions of Ghana

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Ghana’s health sector has seen some transformation resulting from government and development partners’ interventions. By and large, the public health care delivery is generally seen as giving more impartial and evidence-based consideration. However, both public and private hospitals have clients patronizing them. The question therefore is, “at what point is a patient likely to opt for private or public healthcare. The study sought to assess clients’ preference for private and public hospitals. The research design adopted for this study was descriptive design. The population comprised the inhabitants of Kumasi Metropolis (Ashanti Region) and Sefwi-Bibiani (Western Region), who are 18 years and above. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques were used to select 600 inhabitants from the selected regions (300 from each region). Data was collected from primary source by administering questionnaires to the inhabitants. After the study, it was concluded that, the choice of public hospital over private hospital was positively influenced by service quality, word-of-mouth, and the type of ailment (sickness). Satisfaction on the other hand, decreased the odds (likelihood) of public hospital being selected over private hospital. Private hospitals performed better on medical services, nursing services, support services, administrative services, patient safety, and hospital infrastructure. However, public hospitals performed better on the dimension of patient communication than private ones. The study also found that respondents who patronized private hospitals were slightly more satisfied with service than that of public hospital. The study recommends an improvement in waiting time within public hospitals in Ghana. This may be through the creation of additional consulting units and the use of appointments for those who prefer special services. Private hospitals are also encouraged to furnish patients and guardians with appropriate counseling to help them make informed decisions before and during service usage
A thesis submitted to The Department of Marketing and Corporate Strategy, College of Humanities and Social Science in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Business Administration (Strategic Management Option).