Purpose: Health education would have contributed to the disease care and health promotion. The study aimed to explore the characteristics of medical consultation service for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) outpatients and the patients’ satisfaction at a medical center in southern Taiwan.
Methods: According to the related theories of service quality and customers’ satisfaction, the questionnaire of satisfaction of medical consultation was applied for the study. Data management and analysis were based on the nurse who conducted the medical consultation and recorded the content of medical consultation and the source of patients.
Results: From 2009 to 2013, 22,390 people received medical consultation. The utilization of medical consultation for TCM outpatients was not increasing. The source of consultation users was mainly with phone (82.1%), following by self-motivated visits after the clinic (13.6%). The proportion of doctor referral was 4.1%. The most popular consultation issue was San Fu Tian/ San Jiu Tian (A traditional Chinese therapy, based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of astronomy and calendar, demonstrated in the hottest/coldest days in the year), and the following was medical and nursing care of stroke patients, with the average patient visit per year was 672.4 and 424.6, respectively. The average satisfaction rate was above 90 points (with a full point 100.) The patients were generally satisfied with the consultation service. Among the factors concerning the service quality, the patients were most satisfied with the expression ability of the consultant (92.47±2.09), then the attitude of the consultant (92.05±1.81). The patient rated less satisfied with location (89.60±1.84) and the time (90.16±1.94) of the medical consultation service.
Conclusion: This study disclosed the utilization rate of medical consultation service for TCM outpatients. The patients felt satisfied with the consultation service generally, which means the consultant nurse had well qualities of exposition and attitude. The results of satisfaction questionnaire were analyzed. The strategies of improving the utilization of medical consultation service for TCM outpatientswere as following: (1) The prominent display of the direction guide and improvement on the transfer service (2) More options of consulting time and method, (3) Encouragement of doctor referrals, building a more convenient route(4) Routine referral for patients with dread disease, chronic illness and first TCM outpatient visit, (5) Group education about season-related topics, (6) Development of subspecialities of TCM, (7) Boosts the presence of TCM.