Improving outpatient services for elderly patients in Taiwan: A qualitative study

Ren Jieh Kuo, Yung Hung Wu*, Tsung Shin Hsu, Liang Kung Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The rapid pace of population aging poses significant importance of establishing an age-friendly health care system, including outpatient, inpatient, intermediate, and long-term care. The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the quality of outpatient services for elderly patients in Taiwan. Quality function deployment (QFD) is a tool effectively shortening the research-and-development period, reducing costs, and fulfilling customer needs (CNs). This study applied Kano's model and the analytic network process (ANP) to improve the basic framework of QFD. Kano's model enables a thorough understanding of elderly patients' needs and problems with regard to medical care services, so that appropriate outpatient services can be offered to them from the outset. In addition, adapting the supermatrix of ANP to the calculation of the house of quality (HoQ) will reduce subjective judgments. Using Kano's model and an integrated ANP-QFD approach, we extracted five needs of elderly patients and calculated their priorities: 'Professional medical care services convincing patients' (27%), 'With sufficient knowledge to answer patients' questions' (23.5%), 'Providing fast services to solve patients' problems' (19.3%), 'Voluntarily serving patients' (19.1%), and 'Providing proper medical equipment to patients' (11.1%). We then identified six outpatient service attributes deserving of improvement and their priorities: 'Physician with a high level of professionalism and giving clear interpretation of patient's condition' (25%), 'Staff with good communication skills and assistance to patients' (22%), 'High standardization of operating procedures' (18%), 'Staff getting on-the-job training periodically' (15%), 'Facilities sufficient and fitting for elderly patients' (10%), and 'Applying IT (internet) to help patients to receive medical care' (10%). In conclusion, we reconstructed an integrated QFD model which will not only reduce costs but also reveal the crucial outpatient service items that will improve the quality of medical care for elderly people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e209-e217
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Analytic network process
  • Kano's model
  • Quality function deployment


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