Directions in healthcare research: Pointers from retailing and services marketing

Thomas J.L. van Rompay, Karin Tanja-Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Although the importance of the environment in relation to healing processes has been well established, empirical evidence for environmental effects on patient well-being and behavior is sparse. In addition, few attempts have been made to integrate insights from related fields of research such as retailing and services marketing with findings from healthcare studies. In this paper, relevant findings and insights from these domains are discussed. What insights and findings from retailing and services marketing are (potentially) of interest to the healthcare context, and how should one interpret and follow up on these results in healthcare environments?

Background: Research in retailing and services marketing indicates that physical environmental factors (i.e., music and scent) and social environmental factors (i.e., crowded conditions) may affect consumer satisfaction and well-being. In addition, environmental effects have been shown to vary with contextual factors (e.g., the type of environment) and consumer needs (e.g., the extent to which consumers value social contact or stimulation in a specific setting). Although the evidence base for environmental factors in health environments is steadily growing, few attempts have been made to integrate findings from both domains.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The findings presented indicate that environmental variables such as music and scent can contribute to patient well-being and overall satisfaction. In addition, findings suggest that these variables may be used to counteract the negative effects resulting from crowded conditions in different healthcare units. Taking into account recent developments in the healthcare industry, the importance of creating memorable and pleasant patient experiences is likely to grow in the years to come. Hence, the finding that subtle and relatively inexpensive manipulations may affect patient well-being in profound ways should inspire follow-up research aimed at unraveling the specifics of environmental influences in health environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-100
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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