Waiting in healthcare

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Waiting for healthcare refers to any waiting period experienced by a patient before or during medical treatment. Waiting to get an appointment with a physician, staying in a waiting room before an appointment, and being observed during a physician's watchful waiting are different concepts in waiting for healthcare.

When a patient is waiting, their family and friends may also be waiting for an outcome.[1][2]

Some experts have suggested that patient waiting rooms in hospitals be integrated with the other rooms providing patient care so that information updates can come freely to anyone waiting.[3]

In 2014 the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute began funding a study for improving the waiting room experience.[4]

Patients who are waiting for surgery depend on the availability of the operating theater, and if any patient getting treatment in that room takes longer than scheduled, all patients who are waiting to be next must wait beyond their appointed time.[5] It can be difficult to maximize efficient use of the operating room when unexpected delays can happen and lead to patients waiting.[5]

Waiting time influences patient satisfaction.[6][7][8]

Patients can spend longer waiting for treatment than actually receiving treatment.[9]

Time in the waiting room has been used to experiment with giving patient health education.[10]


  1. ^ Warren, NA (November 1993). "Perceived needs of the family members in the critical care waiting room". Crit Care Nurs Q. 16 (3): 56–63. doi:10.1097/00002727-199311000-00009. PMID 8242445.
  2. ^ McCarthy, Melissa L.; Ding, Ru; Pines, Jesse M.; Zeger, Scott L. (2011). "Comparison of Methods for Measuring Crowding and Its Effects on Length of Stay in the Emergency Department". Academic Emergency Medicine. 18 (12): 1269–1277. doi:10.1111/j.1553-2712.2011.01232.x. ISSN 1069-6563.
  3. ^ Halpern, Neil A. (2014). "Innovative Designs for the Smart ICU". Chest. 145 (3): 646. doi:10.1378/chest.13-0004. ISSN 0012-3692.
  4. ^ staff (April 22, 2014). "The PROMIS in Putting Patients' Waiting Room Time to Good Use". pcori.org. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b Dexter, Franklin; Epstein, Richard H.; Traub, Rodney D.; Xiao, Yan (2004). "Making Management Decisions on the Day of Surgery Based on Operating Room Efficiency and Patient Waiting Times". Anesthesiology: 1444–1453. doi:10.1097/00000542-200412000-00027. ISSN 0003-3022.
  6. ^ Becker, Franklin; Douglass, Stephanie (2008). "The Ecology of the Patient Visit". Journal of Ambulatory Care Management. 31 (2): 128–141. doi:10.1097/01.JAC.0000314703.34795.44. ISSN 0148-9917.
  7. ^ Muntlin, Asa; Gunningberg, Lena; Carlsson, Marianne (2006). "Patients' perceptions of quality of care at an emergency department and identification of areas for quality improvement". Journal of Clinical Nursing. 15 (8): 1045–1056. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2006.01368.x. ISSN 0962-1067.
  8. ^ Bruce, TA; Bowman, JM; Brown, ST (December 1998). "Factors that influence patient satisfaction in the emergency department". J Nurs Care Qual. 13 (2): 31–37. doi:10.1097/00001786-199812000-00005. PMID 9842173.
  9. ^ Bailey, Norman T. J. (1952). "A Study of Queues and Appointment Systems in Hospital Out-Patient Departments, with Special Reference to Waiting-Times". Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B (Methodological). 14 (2): 185–199. JSTOR 2983867.
  10. ^ Oermann, MH (April–June 2003). "Effects of educational intervention in waiting room on patient satisfaction". J Ambul Care Manage. 26 (2): 150–158. doi:10.1097/00004479-200304000-00007. PMID 12698929.