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J Family Community Med. 2019 Jan-Apr;26(1):17-22. doi: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_14_18.

The association between waiting time and patient satisfaction in outpatient clinics: Findings from a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine, Ministry of the National Guard Health Affairs, Al Ahsa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
2
Division of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, King Abdulaziz Hospital, National Guard Health Authority, Eastern Region, Al Ahsa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patient satisfaction is an important indicator for assessing the quality of health care because it affects the timely, efficient, and patient-centered delivery of quality health care, and patient satisfaction is associated with the clinical outcomes. This study aimed to examine the relationship between waiting time and patient satisfaction in a tertiary hospital in Saudi Arabia.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A cross-sectional study was conducted at family medicine and other specialized clinics. Data were collected through a structured, self-administered questionnaire distributed to patients seen at the outpatient clinics. Variables collected were sociodemographic information and patient satisfaction scores to evaluate the association between waiting time and satisfaction.

RESULTS:

A total of 406 patients participated in the study. Half of the patients reported being satisfied with the waiting time, while the remaining were dissatisfied (mean satisfaction score 38.4 ± 6.63). Family medicine clinic scored better in waiting time than other specialized clinics; between arrival and registration (P < 0.01), between registration and consultation (P < 0.01), consultation time (P < 0.01), and overall waiting time (P < 0.01). Patients treated at the family medicine clinic were more likely to be satisfied than those seen in other specialized clinics (61.2% vs. 40%, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION:

Overall satisfaction was lower than shown in previous literature. Gender and clinic type were significantly associated with satisfaction score; those who attended the family medicine clinics were more satisfied than those attending other specialized clinics. Findings may be used to inform researchers, clinicians, and policy-makers' decisions on quality improvement programs.

KEYWORDS:

Patient satisfaction; Saudi Arabia; waiting time

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