Purpose: To find the differences in patient satisfaction related to dental services among three ethnic groups - Chinese, Indian and Malay - at AIMST University Dental Centre and analyse them with an importance-performance grid, identifying the weak and strong points, in order to provide better service.
Materials and Methods: This questionnaire-based study consisted of convenience samples of 174 patients of Chinese, Indian and Malay ethnicity. Importance-performance analysis for 20 attributes were compared using Likerts scale. The data obtained were statistically analysed using the Kruskal-Wallis test.
Results: Chinese and Indians both emphasised low performance on the interpersonal relationship attribute in terms of the receptionists courtesy, whereas the Malay participants were concerned with convenience attributes. All the ethnic groups favoured maintaining existing major attributes towards technical competency, interpersonal relationship and facility factors. This study demonstrated priority differences between the ethnic groups perception of the quality of dental services, where ethnic Chinese showed the highest gap (measure of dissatisfaction) between importance and performance compared to ethnic Malays, followed by ethnic Indians.
Conclusion: The patients from the three major ethnic groups of Malaysia were generally well satisfied. Perhaps more priority should be placed on improving the interpersonal relationship attribute, especially with the receptionists.
Keywords: ethnicity, expectation, health care, importance-performance analysis, perception, quality service