The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of service quality (interaction, physical environment, and outcome quality) on trust, to investigate the trust transfer in the healthcare industry, to explore the moderating effects of image congruence and switching costs on the trust transfer, and to assess the effect of trust on patients’ willingness of recommendation.
The research model was tested using data collected from 483 inpatients in 15 medium-to-large hospitals in Taiwan. Structure equation modeling with the latent interaction effect was employed to verify and validate the research model.
The outcomes show that interaction quality and outcome quality positively influence patients’ trust in the original hospital. But the effect of environment quality on trust is not significant. Patients’ trust in the original hospital positively affects their trust in its allied hospitals. Furthermore, image congruence positively moderates the trust transfer. However, switching costs do not appear to moderate the trust transfer. The results also confirm that trust in the original hospital and its allied hospitals positively affect patients’ willingness to recommend allied hospitals.
Due to the chosen research approach, the 15 hospitals cannot represent all hospitals in Taiwan and the research outcomes may lack generalizability.
The research results provide insight into how a hospital can improve and manage patients’ trust and the trust transfer.
This study represents one of the few that empirically investigates trust and trust transfer in the healthcare industry and examines the moderating effects of image congruence and switching costs on the trust transfer.
The authors appreciate Dr Cho Hsiu-Tsu’s (Associate Professor of Department of Counseling and Applied Psychology, National Taichung University of Education) assistance in MPlus 5.1.
Lien, C., Wu, J., Chen, Y. and Wang, C. (2014), "Trust transfer and the effect of service quality on trust in the healthcare industry", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 399-416. https://doi.org/10.1108/MSQ-11-2013-0255Download as .RIS
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