Physician specialty and the quality of medical care experiences in the context of the Taiwan National Health Insurance System

Jenna Tsai, Leiyu Shi, Wei Lung Yu, Li Mei Hung, Lydie A. Lebrun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: Based on a recent patient survey from Taiwan, where there is universal health insurance coverage and unrestricted physician choice, this study examined the relationship between physician specialty and the quality of primary medical care experiences. Methods: We assessed ambulatory patients' experiences with medical care using the Primary Care Assessment Tool, representing 7 primary care domains: first contact (ie, accessibility and utilization); longitudinality (ie, ongoing care); coordination (ie, referrals and information systems); comprehensiveness (ie, services available and provided); family centeredness; community orientation; and cultural competence. Results: Having a primary care physician was significantly associated with patients reporting higher quality of primary care experiences. Specifically, relative to specialty care physicians, primary care physicians enhanced accessibility, achieved better community orientation and cultural competence, and provided more comprehensive services. Conclusions: In an area with universal health insurance and unrestricted physician choice, ambulatory patients of primary care physicians rated their medical care experiences as superior to those of patients of specialists. In addition to providing health insurance coverage, promoting primary care should be included as a health policy to improve patients' quality of ambulatory medical care experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-412
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Comparative health care financing
  • Primary health care
  • Quality of health care
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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