A survey was conducted to examine what the public expects of pharmacists. We created 26 questions based on 26 different situations that patients encounter at pharmacies in order to assess patient satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Some questions were designed to compare pairs of symmetrical situations. The survey was carried out in February and March 2001. The surveys were conducted with patients and/or patients' relatives who brought their prescriptions to pharmacies and with employees of pharmaceutical companies and their family members. A factor analysis extracted two factors among the 26 variables, the first being patient dissatisfaction and the second being patient satisfaction. However, factor loadings for some paired situations were not necessarily symmetrical and thus the absolute values of the scores were not equal. The results suggest that satisfaction on one side does not entail dissatisfaction on the other side and thus satisfaction and dissatisfaction can be examined as separate and distinct entities. Based on these results, we classified pharmaceutical services into two types. The first type is referred to as instrumental service. In this situation patients do not feel great satisfaction even if such service is provided. However, they feel great dissatisfaction if the service is not provided. The second type is referred to as expressive service. These patients feel some satisfaction if such service is provided, however, they do not feel a fatal dissatisfaction if the service is not provided. Our research documents that when examining data based on the assumption that there is a different dimensionality for patient satisfaction and dissatisfaction, it is possible to gain insights into new aspects of pharmaceutical services that are otherwise impossible to assess.
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