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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 148-155

Waiting time and patient satisfaction: Survey of patients seeking care at the general outpatient clinic of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Daprim Samuel Ogaji
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/phmj.phmj_41_17

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Background: Improving efficiency in patient flow and the satisfaction of patients attending outpatient clinics may require paying close attention to the actual time spent by patients at the various service points during their visit to the hospital. This study assessed the time clients spent at various service stations, the level of their satisfaction with the time spent and the relationship between waiting time and satisfaction for patients seeking care at the General Outpatient Clinic of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. Methods: A total of 422 adult patients seeking care at the clinic were selected by time-limited systematic random sampling and followed through all their engagements within the hospital. Details of the time spent at each service station and clients' satisfaction with the time spent were collected using record sheet and a patient satisfaction questionnaire. Data were analysed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 20. The statistical effect sizes and confidence intervals of measured outcomes were reported. The P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: More of the patients were female (58.6%), married (65.3%) and regular visitors to the clinic (72.6%). The mean time of 83 min was spent on the movement to the hospital and further 274 min to conclude all relevant activities in the course of seeking general practice service in the hospital. The average time of consultation with the doctors was 19 min, whereas the longest mean waiting times of 77 and 50 min were spent while waiting to access radiological and laboratory services, respectively. More patients were satisfied with the time they spent consulting the doctors (93%) or waiting to have their vital signs checked by the nurses (83%) than they were with the time taken to access radiological (30%) and laboratory services (47%). There was a significant inverse relationship between the level of patient satisfaction and the duration of time spent at the service stations. Conclusion: The waiting time for patient accessing general outpatient care in the teaching hospital is long and could be a major contributor to negative patient experiences. There is a need for system redesign, establishment of patients' appointment scheduling and other interventions by service providers that will ensure efficient and effective management of patient flow, timely access to health services and an overall improvement of patient experience with the general outpatient encounter.

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