Association between waiting time, service time and patient satisfaction in the out-patient department of a tertiary care hospital in Maharashtra
Keywords:Hospital services, OPD waiting time, Patient satisfaction
Background: Quality patient care is controlled by various factors - degree of fulfilment of patients' needs being one of them. Lesser waiting times, empathetic doctors and availability of medications yield more satisfied patients.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among 80 patients attending the OPD of a tertiary care hospital from 9 am to 1 pm, Monday to Saturday from 8th February 2021 to 8th April 2021. Consenting patients were shadowed and observed until they completed their visit. Actual waiting time, consultation time and overall visit duration were calculated. An exit interview was conducted to assess satisfaction with waiting time, infrastructure and doctor-patient interaction.
Results: The mean waiting time in one visit was 59.025±39.497 minutes. The mean consultation time with the doctor was 6.925±7.688 minutes. Statistical analysis showed that patients with lesser waiting time were significantly more satisfied with hospital services (p=0.004). Domains of dissatisfaction were waiting time at the registration desk, outside the OPD, seating arrangement, cleanliness and availability of medications. Doctor-patient interaction and consultation time were rated highly.
Conclusions: The results showed that significant changes are required in the queueing system and hospital infrastructure. The positive response received in case of doctor-patient interaction is a step in the right direction. Regular surveys can help us rectify oversights in the present healthcare system.
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