Date of this Version
In today’s hyper-competitive market, customers are faced with many different options when deciding on a specific healthcare provider. Due to the varying options, quality and service stand out as two essential elements that influence the selection process. If the quality is not met, the healthcare organizations have to face several issues such as customer retention, value, safety, litigation, and reputation. Patient satisfaction has emerged as an increasingly important parameter in the assessment of health care quality. Waiting time is considered to be an important determinant of patient satisfaction. As patients experience a greater squeeze on their time, short waits seem longer than even before. If the healthcare organizations can improve patients’ perceptions of the time they spend waiting, then patients will experience less frustration and may feel more satisfied with the services.
This thesis examines patients’ perceptions of waiting and investigates methods for making waiting more tolerable. The purpose of this study was to measure changes in patient’s perceptions of waiting and overall satisfaction under specific conditions. The methods developed in this study were validated through a case study which was performed in a radiology department waiting room in a regional medical center in Grand Island, Nebraska. The study was conducted in three phases: the pre-intervention phase served as control. Regression analysis and ANOVA were performed to determine the effect of independent variables on the overall satisfaction and
the gap between perceived and actual waiting time; In the development of an intervention strategy phase, the independent variables that were found to be statistically significant in phase 1 were identified and manipulated; in the post-intervention phase, the analysis was performed in a similar way as pre-intervention phase.
It was found that as perceived waiting time increases, patient satisfaction tends to decrease. This study also confirmed that the post–intervention phase improved the overall satisfaction compared to the pre-intervention phase. In addition, it was found that the gap between the perceived and actual waiting times was not reduced from pre-intervention to post-intervention phases. It was also found that occupied patients (involved in an activity during their wait) had higher satisfaction levels and lower gap compared to that of unoccupied patients (sitting idle).
Advisor: Ram R. Bishu