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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.

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



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.


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.


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).


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.


Patient satisfaction; Saudi Arabia; waiting time

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