Combining principal component analysis and the evidential reasoning approach for healthcare quality assessment

Guilan Kong, Lili Jiang, Xiafeng Yin, Tianbing Wang, Dong-Ling Xu, Jian-Bo Yang, Yonghua Hu

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Patient experience and satisfaction surveys have been adopted worldwide to evaluate healthcare quality. Nevertheless, national governments and the general public continue to search for optimal methods to assess healthcare quality from the patient’s perspective. This study proposes a new hybrid method, which combines principal component analysis (PCA) and the evidential reasoning (ER) approach, for assessing patient satisfaction. PCA is utilized to transform correlated items into a few uncorrelated principal components (PCs). Then, the ER approach is employed to aggregate extracted PCs, which are considered as multiple attributes or criteria within the ER framework. To compare the performance of the proposed method with that of another assessment method, analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is employed to acquire the weight of each assessment item in the hierarchical assessment framework, and the ER approach is used to aggregate patient evaluation for each item. Compared with the combined AHP and ER approach, which relies on the respondents’ subjective judgments to calculate criterion and subcriterion weights in the assessment framework, the proposed method is highly objective and completely based on survey data. This study contributes a novel and innovative hybrid method that can help hospital administrators obtain an objective and aggregated healthcare quality assessment based on patient experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Early online date20 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Healthcare quality assessment
  • patient experience and satisfaction
  • principal component analysis
  • analytic hierarchy process
  • The evidential reasoning approach


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