Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Consumer Behavior in the Health Marketplace: A Symposium Proceedings, Ian M. Newman, Editor, Nebraska Center for Health Education & University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1976.


Consumer behavior in the health marketplace is an interesting subject. One of the interesting things about studying medical care is that different people experience different results after having the same health care. For example, in the Massachusetts presidential primary that took place some time ago, one of the voting machines somehow got hooked up to an X-ray device, and, as a result, three voters were exposed to doses of radiation. One of the exposed was a conservative, one was a liberal, and one was an independent. They were immediately rushed to one of the major Boston medical centers where a physician gave them a thorough examination and said to all three of them, "I'm sorry folks, but the three of you will be dead in two weeks." The conservative ran out to spend the two weeks praying for salvation, the liberal decided to spend the two weeks raising hell and trying to live as much as possible, but the independent ran out to look for another doctor.

So, post-purchase satisfaction is important because it shapes the patient's subsequent behavior. But, there are also several reasons why post-purchase satisfaction is important to health care management. These are summarized in Figure I.