The impact of unacceptable wait time on health care patients' attitudes and actions

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A great deal of time is spent by patients waiting for health care services in doctors' offices. The literature points to a negative impact of wait time on patients' perceptions of health care services, and on patients' subsequent behavior. A survey of 200 patients suggests wait time affects perceptions of quality, satisfaction and likeability, as well as likelihood of recommendations and repeat visits. In addition, response to unacceptable wait time was found to be significantly related to income. These findings indicate a cultural shift in patients' perceptions of wait time, and underline the need for providers to retain patients' loyalty through more timely service. Copyright © by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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