|M.Sc Thesis||Department of Quality Assurance and Reliability|
|Supervisor:||Dr. Gilat Cohen|
This final paper focuses on obtaining deeper understanding of those factors that influence the service quality expected and provided by a CRO (Contract Research Organizations) to clinical investigators to support and enhance their efforts in providing good quality data and meeting patient recruitment goals based on an customer model of interaction. We have aimed to generate a strategic tool for measuring service quality within the CRO industry, which allowed the identification of critical factors influencing the clinical investigator-CRO partnership viewed as a customer and service provider relationship. The network of services provided by the CRO was identified and developed into an affirmative statement. Each service statement was then categorized according to Parasuraman, et.al. (1995)’s definition of 5 generic quality dimensions for the service sector (SERVQUAL): tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy and organized in a survey. A reliability analysis showed reliability coefficients confirming the statements were appropriately categorized to each of the service quality dimensions. We evaluated the investigator’s perception of the importance of each service and their satisfaction with the CRO industry performance of these services.
Responsiveness was considered by the investigators as the most important quality dimension in their interaction with the CROs and was also the service quality dimension with the highest satisfaction amongst the investigators. The areas of assurance and reliability obtained the lower individual values of satisfaction from the investigators. Seventy seven percent of the respondents concluded that they are very satisfied with the performance of the CRO industry. Thirty out of 41 service statements measured were considered very important by over 80% of the respondents.
Sixteen service statements were categorized as areas requiring immediate improvement by the CRO industry. Nine service statements were considered as if the improvement of the CRO's performance in these services will give added value to the investigator's perception of the CROs service standards. The respondents were very satisfied with the CRO industry performance for 11 service statements ("no action required").
By using Parasuraman, et.al. (1995)’s model of measuring service quality, we were able to identify the key elements of the CRO-investigators partnership interactions and to cluster the investigators responses with regards to the importance of the services provided by the CRO and their overall satisfaction with these services. Areas for improvement have been identified based on the costumer’s expectations and perception of the service performance. This is the first step for generating a strategic service quality measurement tool within the CRO industry.