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postgraduate thesis: Examining long patient waiting time in two outpatient departments in mainland China : causes, bottlenecks in patient flow, and impact on patients' perceptions of medical care

TitleExamining long patient waiting time in two outpatient departments in mainland China : causes, bottlenecks in patient flow, and impact on patients' perceptions of medical care
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Or, KLLau, HYK
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Xu, J. [许晶]. (2014). Examining long patient waiting time in two outpatient departments in mainland China : causes, bottlenecks in patient flow, and impact on patients' perceptions of medical care. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194761
AbstractBackground: Long outpatient waiting time is a significant problem in Mainland China’s healthcare system. Long patient waiting time negatively affects actual care quality as well as patients’ perceptions of medical care. Aim: This study aims to understand the causes of long patient wait times in China’s outpatient care departments, and how those waits influence patients’ attitudes towards medical care. The rhythm of hospital patient flow will be explored in order to posit modest suggestions to resolve these issues. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to identify the causes of long waiting times in China’s outpatient care departments, to distinguish the specific bottleneck points in patient flow, and to characterize the relationship between waiting time length and the patients’ perceptions of medical care. Method: Two tertiary care hospitals in Mainland China were included as study sites. Macroergonomic methodologies were adopted to guide the data collection and analysis. The Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model was specifically adopted to guide the study design and data analysis procedures. First, audio records were made of interviews with care providers from the two hospitals in order to document and discern the causes of long outpatient care waiting times. Second, a time study was carried out with patients visiting two outpatient departments at the two study sites in order to identify inefficiencies and bottleneck points in the patient flow. Third, a questionnaire survey was provided to the patients in order to understand the impact of lengthy wait times on their overall perceptions of medical care. The interview data was analyzed using content analysis methods, time study data was used to generate a patient flow model, and the questionnaire feedback was analyzed in tandem with the time study data using a linear regression analysis. Results: Sixty-three factors contributing to lengthy patient wait time were discerned from the interview data, concerning each of the five dimensions of the SEIPS model work system. Two patient flow diagrams were designed based on identified patient flow inefficiencies and bottlenecks. A majority (four-fifths and three-quarters, respectively, at the two study sites) of total patient visit time was spent on waiting for physician services and ancillary, non-medical activities. Serious bottlenecks in patient flow occurred while waiting for physician consultation, ultrasound examinations, and medical test result feedback. Patients’ evaluations of medical care quality dropped 0.04 points for each minute of consultation wait time, and 0.02 points for each minute of total visit duration and total waiting time. Conclusions: The causes of long patient wait times concern the physicians’ and patients’ characteristics, the organization and management of the hospital, the tasks, technology, and tools involved, and the hospital environment. Waiting for physician consultation, ultrasound examinations, and medical test result feedback cause the most patient flow problems. Long wait times have an adverse impact upon patients’ perceptions of medical care. The macroergonomic methodologies prove feasible and effective in evaluating health care systems.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectHospitals - Outpatient services - China
Patients - Safety measures
Dept/ProgramIndustrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197529

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorOr, KL-
dc.contributor.advisorLau, HYK-
dc.contributor.authorXu, Jing-
dc.contributor.author许晶-
dc.date.accessioned2014-05-27T23:16:41Z-
dc.date.available2014-05-27T23:16:41Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationXu, J. [许晶]. (2014). Examining long patient waiting time in two outpatient departments in mainland China : causes, bottlenecks in patient flow, and impact on patients' perceptions of medical care. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194761-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197529-
dc.description.abstractBackground: Long outpatient waiting time is a significant problem in Mainland China’s healthcare system. Long patient waiting time negatively affects actual care quality as well as patients’ perceptions of medical care. Aim: This study aims to understand the causes of long patient wait times in China’s outpatient care departments, and how those waits influence patients’ attitudes towards medical care. The rhythm of hospital patient flow will be explored in order to posit modest suggestions to resolve these issues. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to identify the causes of long waiting times in China’s outpatient care departments, to distinguish the specific bottleneck points in patient flow, and to characterize the relationship between waiting time length and the patients’ perceptions of medical care. Method: Two tertiary care hospitals in Mainland China were included as study sites. Macroergonomic methodologies were adopted to guide the data collection and analysis. The Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model was specifically adopted to guide the study design and data analysis procedures. First, audio records were made of interviews with care providers from the two hospitals in order to document and discern the causes of long outpatient care waiting times. Second, a time study was carried out with patients visiting two outpatient departments at the two study sites in order to identify inefficiencies and bottleneck points in the patient flow. Third, a questionnaire survey was provided to the patients in order to understand the impact of lengthy wait times on their overall perceptions of medical care. The interview data was analyzed using content analysis methods, time study data was used to generate a patient flow model, and the questionnaire feedback was analyzed in tandem with the time study data using a linear regression analysis. Results: Sixty-three factors contributing to lengthy patient wait time were discerned from the interview data, concerning each of the five dimensions of the SEIPS model work system. Two patient flow diagrams were designed based on identified patient flow inefficiencies and bottlenecks. A majority (four-fifths and three-quarters, respectively, at the two study sites) of total patient visit time was spent on waiting for physician services and ancillary, non-medical activities. Serious bottlenecks in patient flow occurred while waiting for physician consultation, ultrasound examinations, and medical test result feedback. Patients’ evaluations of medical care quality dropped 0.04 points for each minute of consultation wait time, and 0.02 points for each minute of total visit duration and total waiting time. Conclusions: The causes of long patient wait times concern the physicians’ and patients’ characteristics, the organization and management of the hospital, the tasks, technology, and tools involved, and the hospital environment. Waiting for physician consultation, ultrasound examinations, and medical test result feedback cause the most patient flow problems. Long wait times have an adverse impact upon patients’ perceptions of medical care. The macroergonomic methodologies prove feasible and effective in evaluating health care systems.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshHospitals - Outpatient services - China-
dc.subject.lcshPatients - Safety measures-
dc.titleExamining long patient waiting time in two outpatient departments in mainland China : causes, bottlenecks in patient flow, and impact on patients' perceptions of medical care-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5194761-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineIndustrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5194761-

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