crop ethnic psychologist writing on clipboard during session

Client needs and expectations in health care

A client is a person or organization using the services of a professional or organization. At a health facility, there are two types of clients

  • An external client comes to receive services; e.g. a patient
  • An internal client is the one who delivers services; e.g. a counselor

Client needs and expectations

Health services should be designed to meet the health needs and expectations of clients.. in quality improvement, a focus on the client examines how and whether each step  in a process priorities meeting client needs and expectations and then eliminates steps that do not ultimately lead to client satisfaction or desired client outcomes. This focus on the client can be achieved by gathering information about clients and then designing services to carter to the needs and expectations that are expressed.


Needs are the actual necessities or goals that the client wants to be met by utilizing the health services

  • Internal clients generally need availability of facilities, supplies and working gear for service provision in accordance to stipulated standards of care as well as best practices
  • External clients generally need to access services that will effectively relieve symptoms and prevent illness.

Expectations are the preconceived ideas that the client has in mind about the service before the actual service delivery. These ideas could be about the process or the outcome. As was the case for needs, the expectations of quality of health services are different for the two categories of clients.

  • Internal clients expect availability of logistics and supportive supervision, career development and acceptable  remuneration
  • External clients expect availability of healthcare providers at all times, good interaction with service providers and affordability of services.

It makes sense that different levels of clients would have different expectations.

  • Patients and families may expect providers and medical records to be available, minimal waiting time, positive interactions with the service providers, privacy, confidentiality, and reasonable access to services in terms of distance and cost.
  • Providers may expect high skill level of their collegues, effectiveness and availability off logistical support, supportive supervision, good pay and career development.
  • The community may expect reasonable access and availability of services and service providers
  • Health care administration and management may expect competence of providers, detailed and accurate records and documentation of outcomes.

In the delivery of quality health services, the purpose of health care organization is to achieve client satisfaction.

Satisfied clients tend to:

  • Comply and adhere to treatment
  • Recommend the service to others
  • Support resource generation for the health facility.

Dissatisfied clients may

  • Not adhere to treatment
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  • Not return to facility for further care
  • Not recommend the facility to others, may tell others of their negative experience.

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