Quality assessment is a crucial issue in the strategic management of the public health sector. The objective of this study is to investigate the patients’ perception of the health system quality and explore the relationships between doctors and long-term cancer patients. The data under study have been collected during a survey conducted with long-term cancer patients who follow an oncological therapy in a Public Hospital. In the study, exploratory factorial analysis is developed and two structural equation models are proposed. The first model describes the service quality as perceived by the patients, which is influenced by four important factors, namely tangible aspects, reliability, empathy (doctor–patient human relations) and hospital organization. The second model describes the relationship between doctors and long-term cancer patients, which is influenced by three factors, that is reliability, empathy and hospital organization. The discussion highlights the contribution that the results of the study may make to the investigation of the possible strategies for improving health care service quality.
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