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Rofo. 2012 Nov;184(11):1043-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1313049. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

[As time goes by--is it worth intensifying patient care during the waiting period for radiological examinations?].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Röntgendiagnostik, Universitätsklinikum Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.



Service characteristics in hospital care in general have a high influence on patients' contentment. One of the key features of good service is waiting time. The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of ambience and individual care while waiting for a radiological examination on patient satisfaction.


The study was conducted prospectively and included and total of 100 patients at a tertiary care center. All patients waiting for contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) and were randomly divided into two groups. 50 patients waited under regular circumstances, i.e. the normal waiting ara of our radiological department, whilst the remaining 50 patients spent their waiting time in a separate small waiting area with intensified care and service. Both subjective and objective waiting time and the patients' contentment were raised with a standardized questionnaire. Quality criteria mentioned by the patients were then ranked according to their importance.


Of all included patients 76 % were ambulant with an average age of 60 years (range 22 - 83 years) and 69 % female. These characteristics were identical in both groups. With a mean waiting time of 90 minutes (Group intensified care 100 minutes, group regular care 81 minutes) most patients evaluated the overall service during waiting time as "good" to "ideal", only 2 % as of "low quality". No significant differences between the two study arms concerning the patient satisfaction could be detected. Patients with intensified care estimated their delay time significantly shorter by an average of 24 minutes (p < 0.02). For 40 % a detailed consent discussion was the main quality criterion, while a short waiting time only for 24 %.


An optimized, i.e. intensified care during the waiting time for a radiological examination results in a significant reduction of the subjective waiting time, but does not lead to a significantly higher patient contentment. The subjective judgement of examination quality seems to influence the acceptance of prolonged latency to a high degree.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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