OBJECTIVE: In 2013, customer satisfaction surveys showed that patients were unhappy with the services provided at our ambulatory clinic. In response, we performed an appraisal of our services, which resulted in the development of a strategy to reduce waiting time and improve quality of service. Infrastructural changes to our clinic's waiting room, consultation rooms, and back offices were performed, and schedules were redesigned to reduce wait time to 10 minutes and increase consultation time to 20 minutes. Our objective was to identify if this would improve 1) accessibility to caregivers and 2) quality of service and available amenities.
DESIGN: We conducted a multi-method survey using 1) a patient flow analysis to analyze the flow of service and understand the impact of our interventions on patient flow and 2) specially designed questionnaires to investigate patients' perceptions of our wait time and how to improve our services.
RESULTS: The results showed that 79% of our respondents were called in to see a doctor within 20 minutes upon arrival. More patients (55%) felt that 10-20 minutes was an acceptable wait time. We also observed a perceived increase in satisfaction with wait time (94%). Finally, a large number of patients (97%) were satisfied with the quality of service and with the accessibility to caregivers (94%).
CONCLUSION: The majority of our patients were satisfied with the accessibility to our ambulatory clinics and with the quality of services provided. The appraisal of our operational processes using a patient flow analysis also demonstrated how this strategy could effectively be applied to investigate and improve quality of service in patients.