Mean Waiting Time and Patients' Satisfaction in GOPD, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri
Background: Waiting time is a major determinant of the patients' level of satisfaction. It is the average time spent by the patient from the time of presentation in the hospital to the time of contact with a health service provider.
Objective: To determine the mean waiting time in the Records department/card room and the General Out- Patient Clinic (GOPC) and its relationship with the level of patients' satisfaction.
Materials and Methods: A total of 270 randomly selected patients who attended the GOPC of Federal Medical Center Owerri between June and December, 2009 were studied. It was a descriptive cross-sectional study. Data was collected with the aid of a pretested self-administered questionnaire and analyzed by the use of epi-info vers 6.05 statistical package.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 47.8 ±4.3years. The study recorded mean waiting times in the records department and GOPC as 35.2 ±1.7mins and 48.4± 2.7mins respectively. However, the cumulative mean waiting time in both units was 83.6±1.6mins. The commonest cause of prolonged waiting time was inadequate manpower to cope with the teeming patient population. About 52.6% and 65.6% of the subjects were satisfied with the services they received in the records department/card room and GOPC respectively.
Conclusion: The mean waiting time observed from this study is far higher than the SERVICOM recommended waiting time of less than 45minutes. The causes of prolonged waiting time and patients' dis-satisfaction as noted from this study should be addressed by the staff and management of the hospital.
Key words: Waiting time, Satisfaction, Owerri