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Waiting Time as Determinant of Patient Satisfaction Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 7th, 2022

Waiting time is a critical aspect that affects patient satisfaction, especially in the dental sector. For this reason, the aim of this study is to determine patient satisfaction regarding waiting time in a specialized dental center. A literature analysis was carried out to identify key factors affecting patient satisfaction to obtain accurate and relevant results. Among these factors are the organizational aspects of dental centers, as well as the socio-demographic characteristics of the patients. The research was conducted by interviewing staff in a specialized dental center. The impact and implications of this topic and the need for research are described.

Introduction

The modern pace of life requires quick service, since most people have their own responsibilities and limited time. For this reason, the long wait for service is annoying for people and spoils their impression of any facility in general. This trend is also relevant for healthcare, including dental clinics. For this reason, this study aims to determine the effect of waiting time on patient satisfaction in a specialized dental center.

The topic of the correlation between the waiting time for receiving services and patient satisfaction is essential for identifying the main disadvantages of a specialized dental center’s organization of work. In some cases, waiting is inevitable, so understanding the factors that contribute to reducing negative perceptions of patients is also vital, considering satisfaction with services. At the same time, patient satisfaction is a significant factor for both the healthcare center, as well as patients who more accurately and responsibly follow the recommendations of professionals after a positive experience (Ogaji and Mezie-Okoye, 2017). Therefore, the study of the impact of waiting times on patient satisfaction is an essential task for improving the quality of services of specialized dental centers in general.

Literature Review

The waiting time is one of the significant factors affecting the overall satisfaction with the service provided. Waiting time can be defined as a period that a patient spends in the waiting area after the actual time of appointment and before the start of consultation or procedure. Alrasheedi et al. (2019), in their study, determined that patient dissatisfaction due to a long waiting time has the most noticeable manifestations in the dental services, along with medication dispensation, vital signs measurement, and radiological investigation. Ali (2016) used another approach and determined the factors that most affect the experience of patients in dental clinics, and the waiting time was one of the most important along with the accessibility and physical appearance of centers. Therefore, this factor is the key to dental services in healthcare.

At the same time, patient dissatisfaction due to the long waiting time has negative consequences for dental centers and patients. Motloba et al. (2018) note that patients who had negative experiences at the dental clinic are less likely to re-visit or recommend it to other people. This fact affects the reputation and profit of the healthcare institution. At the same time, increased waiting times jeopardize the patient’s perception of information and recommendations provided by a medical professional (Bleustein et al., 2014). Consequently, a patient cannot remember information about preventive or mandatory measures and can harm his or her health.

However, many factors affect the perception of waiting time by a patient and increase or decrease satisfaction. Al-Harajin, Al-Subaie, and Elzubair (2019, p.21) note that due to the significant impact of waiting times on service satisfaction, it is recommended that at least 90 percent of patients be recruited no later than 30 minutes after the time of their appointment.. Alarcon-Ruiz, Heredia, and Taype-Rondan (2019, p. 7) also note that consultation time after waiting has an effect on patient satisfaction, and recommend that it not exceed more than fifteen minutes. However, too short a consultation after hours of waiting can also seem like a waste of time to the patient. In addition, fifteen minutes for dental services provision is usually not enough, so it needs to be adjusted for dental centers.

Another feature that affects the perception of waiting time is the money spent. For example, paid healthcare services and absents of free parking increase the negative attitude towards lateness (Ogaji and Mezie-Okoye, 2017, p. 153; Inglehart et al., 2016, p. 168). Moreover, the presence of entertainment facilities or a host in the waiting area also allows dental centers to improve the experience of patients as they spend time more comfortably. Consequently, some organizational changes can affect patient satisfaction, regardless of the waiting time, and these aspects should be included in the research.

However, there are also socio-demographic factors that should be taken into account when evaluating patient satisfaction regarding waiting time. For example, Inglehart et al. (2016) say that people with higher education had a more negative reaction to anticipation, as well as patients with a first-time visit. At the same time, people who have work and are married are more patient with lateness (Alrasheedi et al., 2019, p. 6). Therefore, these data should be included in questions for the research.

Reference List

Alarcon-Ruiz, C.A., Heredia, P. and Taype-Rondan, A. (2019) ‘Association of waiting and consultation time with patient satisfaction: secondary-data analysis of a national survey in Peruvian ambulatory care facilities’, BMC Health Services Research, 19(439), pp. 1-9.

Al-Harajin, R. S., Al-Subaie, S. A., and Elzubair, A. G. (2019) ‘The association between waiting time and patient satisfaction in outpatient clinics: findings from a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia’, Journal of family & community medicine, 26(1), pp. 17–22.

Ali, D. A. (2016) ‘Patient satisfaction in Dental Healthcare Centers’, European Journal of Dentistry, 10(3), pp. 309–314.

Alrasheedi K.F. et al. (2019) ‘The association between wait times and patient satisfaction: findings from Primary Health Centers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, 6, pp. 1-7.

Bleustein C. et al. (2014) ‘Wait times, patient satisfaction scores, and the perception of care’, American Journal of Managed Care, 20(5), pp. 393-400.

Inglehart, M. et al. (2016) ‘Do waiting times in dental offices affect patient satisfaction and evaluations of patient-provider relationships? A quasi-experimental study’, Journal of Dental Hygiene, 90 (3), pp. 203-211.

Motloba, P. et al. (2018) ‘Patient waiting time and satisfaction at a Tertiary Dental School’, The Journal of the Dental Association of South Africa, 73(6), pp. 400-405.

Ogaji, D. and Mezie-Okoye, M. (2017) ‘Waiting time and patient satisfaction: survey of patients seeking care at the general outpatient clinic of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital’, Port Harcourt Medical Journal, 11(3), pp. 148-155.

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