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Can physicians improve patient satisfaction with long waiting times?

Feddock, C.A.; Hoellein, A.R.; Griffith, C.H.; Wilson, J.F.; Bowerman, J.L.; Becker, N.S.; Caudill, T.S.

Evaluation and the Health Professions 28(1): 40-52

2005


ISSN/ISBN: 0163-2787
PMID: 15677386
DOI: 10.1177/0163278704273084
Accession: 048432815

The purpose of our study was to determine how time spent with the physician might be related to patient dissatisfaction with their waiting time. During a 2-month period, patients in our internal medicine resident continuity clinic completed a survey assessing their satisfaction with their waiting time and their estimates of their waiting time and time spent with the resident physician. For patients with long waiting times (more than 15 min in the waiting room or more than 10 min in the exam room), patient dissatisfaction with waiting time was associated with a shorter physician visit (48% were dissatisfied if the physician spent less than 15 min vs. 18% if the physician spent more than 15 min with them, p = .03). These data suggest that physicians can mediate the negative effects of long waiting times by spending more time with their patients. Future studies on patient satisfaction should consider this interaction.

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