The effect of waiting time on patient perceptions of care quality

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This research explores the effect of waiting time on patient satisfaction in the context of rural healthcare clinics, with data from a three-year time period. Patient satisfaction was measured by overall quality of care, likelihood of recommending the care provider, and likelihood of recommending the practice. The authors' analysis shows that waiting times impact patient satisfaction, with differences being more pronounced by gender and clinic type. A deeper analysis using ordinal logistic regression and additional time-related variables reveals some interesting results. For example, in this setting, only when waiting time was 45 minutes or greater was there an effect on overall patient satisfaction. Male patients tended to be more satisfied if kept abreast of delays. Female patients were more tolerant of delays, but receiving delay information did not link to satisfaction. Finally, patients who were highly satisfied with the time spent with their care provider were 94 percent likely to refer the practice to others. However, patients who were very dissatisfied with the time spent with the care provider were 81 percent likely to not recommend the care provider. Understanding what aspects of a patient's experience drive care quality and patient satisfaction is useful to healthcare managers who operate with increasingly limited resources.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Quality Management Journal in 2018, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/10686967.2018.1404368

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Quality Management Journal