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Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 1999 Jun;25(6):300-15.

Using quality function deployment to capture the voice of the customer and translate it into the voice of the provider.

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Continental Rehabilitation Hospital, San Diego, CA, USA.



Health care has a number of historical barriers to capturing the voice of the customer and to incorporating customer wants into health care services, whether the customer is a patient, an insurer, or a community. Quality function deployment (QFD) is a set of tools and practices that can help overcome these barriers to form a process for the planning and design or redesign of products and services. The goal of the project was to increase referral volume and to improve a rehabilitation hospital's capacity to provide comprehensive medical and/or legal evaluations for people with complex and catastrophic injuries or illnesses. HIGH-LEVEL VIEW OF QFD AS A PROCESS: The steps in QFD are as follows: capture of the voice of the customer, quality deployment, functions deployment, failure mode deployment, new process deployment, and task deployment. The output of each step becomes the input to a matrix tool or table of the next step of the process.


In 3 1/2 months a nine-person project team at Continental Rehabilitation Hospital (San Diego) used QFD tools to capture the voice of the customer, use these data as the basis for a questionnaire on important qualities of service from the customer's perspective, obtain competitive data on how the organization was perceived to be meeting the demanded qualities, identify measurable dimensions and targets of these qualities, and incorporate the functions and tasks into the delivery of service which are necessary to meet the demanded qualities.


The future of providing health care services will belong to organizations that can adapt to a rapidly changing environment and to demands for new products and services that are produced and delivered in new ways.

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