Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Health Services and Policy Management

First Advisor

Melanie Cozad


Every second, a baby is born. The process of birth is a complex one – biologically, medically, and emotionally. In particular, women in labor need both physical and emotional care. They need to be heard, to be comforted, and to be safe.

Women’s satisfaction can be used as a legitimate way to measure the quality of maternity care. Moreover, when health systems practice patient-centered care and listen to women’s concerns and what they want out of their care, it can lead to improvements in their satisfaction. Hospitals in Saudi Arabia are considered to be among the best and most technologically advanced in the world. However, the quality of care in terms of how women are cared for is an issue, especially in the public sector. Therefore, to improve the quality of care, Saudi Arabia is planning to privatize the public sector, which comprises 60% of the services.

This study was designed to provide baseline information regarding how satisfied women are with their maternity care and garner their perspectives on how patient-centered care should be practiced. Specifically, it compares women’s satisfaction in the public and the private sectors in two of the National Guards hospitals in two cities (Jeddah and Riyadh) in Saudi Arabia. These hospitals are considered to be among the best in the kingdom. The quality of care in these governmental hospitals is high compared to other public hospitals. This dissertation also examined and compared women’s knowledge and willingness to contribute to patient-centered care during labor and delivery. This study shows that private patients tend to be more satisfied with their care compared to public patients, especially regarding privacy and dealing with nurses. Moreover, private patients tend to know more about their health rights and contributed more into their care process with their health providers.

These findings serve as a baseline for health administrators, managers, and policymakers to consider as the transition to privatization begins. Stakeholders should focus on Key aspects to improve patients satisfaction. They should focus on improving patients’ privacy, health providers’ bedside manners, and women’s health rights education within the public and the private sector. These improvements should take place while maintaining the doctors' and the hospitals’ reputations for the high quality of services.