Accommodation of accessibility survey in primary care clinics of a rural Alberta community

van der Linde, Erich (2014-12)

Thesis (MMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ABSTRACT Introduction: According to the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada’s National Rural Health Strategy, 21% of Canadian residents are rural but only 9.4% of Canadian physicians live in rural areas.1,2 Aim: To evaluate patient experience and the accommodation of accessibility to four primary care clinics in Brooks, Alberta. Objectives were to: • measure and compare the actual versus expected waiting times in the physician’s office. • assess patient satisfaction with the current organization of access and quality of care. • elicit ideas from patients on how to improve the accommodation of access. • elicit feedback from patients regarding the employment of alternative practitioners in the clinics. Methods: Design: cross-sectional survey. Setting: Four primary care clinics in the city of Brooks. Subjects: The study sample (n=391) included registered patients including emergency walk-in consultations, consultations for office procedures, short visits for prescription refills as well as annual physical examinations. Results: The mean perceived waiting room time was 12.35 minutes versus 5-15 minutes actual waiting room time for 60.5% of the participants. The mean perceived exam room waiting time was 10.58 minutes versus 5-15 minutes actual exam room waiting times for 81.4 % of the participants. Mean perceived time spent with the physician was 11.65 minutes versus 5-15 minutes actual time spent with the physician for 67.1 % of the participants. Patients who felt that they can get a timely appointment were 8.4 times more likely to be happy with the quality of care received. Patients who got prompt return of their calls are 10.4 times more likely to be happy with access to primary care clinics. Patients who felt that the clinic hours of operation were acceptable were 15.6 times more likely to agree that they received adequate health care. Patients who felt that the waiting time for an appointment at the clinic were acceptable to them were 8.1 times happier with the quality of care. Conclusion No major differences exist between perceived and actual waiting times in the physician’s offices. The waiting time for scheduled appointments is generally too long. The most satisfied patient appears to be someone whom waits no longer than 5-15 minutes in the waiting room, then no longer than 5-15 minutes in exam room for a 5 -15 minute consultation. The shorter the waiting times for an appointment and the shorter the different waiting times during a consultation in the clinic the more satisfied the patient.

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