The importance-performance analysis method (IPA) is used in market research in order to measure the level of customer satisfaction. The aim of this study was to evaluate and highlight the use of IPA as a management tool to measure quality of dental services. We suggest that this method can be easily implemented in a dental educational setting, as a performance outcome measure that includes patient input. The study was conducted in a dental service through a valid questionnaire, SERVQUAL. This instrument explores levels of service quality perceived by patients. It was conducted in four companies in Brazil in 2011 (derived from different industry segments; two from textiles, one from hospital care and the other from the manufacturing industry) in two States (S?o Paulo and Minas Gerais). These companies were covered by the same dental managed care organization which contracted with independent dentists to provide care. The study was divided into two stages: the first, in which beneficiaries answered the questionnaire prior to receiving dental treatment, and the second when the same beneficiaries answered after completing their dental treatment. Data obtained from SERVQUAL generated graphs
that were used to characterize the IPA matrix using several dimensions of care. The Assurance Dimension had the highest average in both expectation and perception. The Reliability dimension showed the value of the most negative GAP among the dimensions, and the best value occurred in the Responsiveness dimension. The IPA tool may be effective in Dental Medicine since it highlights the key points to be improved in the delivery of dental services in a clinical setting.
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