Getting right to the point: identifying Australian outpatients’ priorities and preferences for patient-centred quality improvement in chronic disease care

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To identify specific actions for patient-centred quality improvement in chronic disease outpatient settings, this study identified patients’ general and specific preferences among a comprehensive suite of initiatives for change.

Design and setting

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in three hospital-based clinics specializing in oncology, neurology and cardiology care located in New South Wales, Australia.

Participants and measures

Adult English-speaking outpatients completed the touch-screen Consumer Preferences Survey in waiting rooms or treatment areas. Participants selected up to 23 general initiatives that would improve their experience. Using adaptive branching, participants could select an additional 110 detailed initiatives and complete a relative prioritization exercise.


A total of 541 individuals completed the survey (71.1% consent, 73.1% completion). Commonly selected general initiatives, presented in order of decreasing priority (along with sample proportion), included: improved parking (60.3%), up-to-date information provision (15.0%), ease of clinic contact (12.9%), access to information at home (12.8%), convenient appointment scheduling (14.2%), reduced wait-times (19.8%) and information on medical emergencies (11.1%). To address these general initiatives, 40 detailed initiatives were selected by respondents.


Initiatives targeting service accessibility and information provision, such as parking and up-to-date information on patient prognoses and progress, were commonly selected and perceived to be of relatively greater priority. Specific preferences included the need for clinics to provide patient-designated parking in close proximity to the clinic, information on treatment progress and test results (potentially in the form of designated brief appointments or via telehealth) and comprehensive and trustworthy lists of information sources to access at home.

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