There is ample evidence that shows that effective management of service quality and patient safety could bring about vast improvement and desired results. Managing service quality, for example, could improve efficiency and costs and bring about patient satisfaction. On the other hand, improving the standards of patient safety is imperative because it lessens the risks of errors in clinical practice and secures the health and well-being of patients. Theoretically, managerial concerns in these two areas are deemed separate and distinct from each other because whilst one is evidently organisational in nature, the other involves actual clinical practice. The broadness of the concept of quality care, however, necessarily includes patient safety as a subset. Nonetheless, this connection and the commonalities of variables found in these two functions do not necessarily entail their integration. Patient safety is an important, and the primary, function of healthcare and deserves a separate treatment from service quality.
The quality of the service in health care is critically determined by the design of the process or processes that makes up the service. In health care organisations, the services offered are not tangibles but are processes or sets of processes. The process or processes themselves may not be entirely understood by patients but their quality is perceived, from the point of view of patients, from the design of the process or processes. This is because it is the design that shapes and directs the interaction between health provider and patients and serves the defining moment or the critical incident between them. This moment or incident by which the health provider interacts with the member or patient may be called a service encounter. A service encounter greatly impacts upon a member because it is at this point that the latter is given the opportunity to form his or her impression of the health provider’s service quality (Taylor &