ER patients given a longer estimated wait time prove to be more satisfied

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

November 5, 2008

A Michigan emergency room (ER) tested the idea that patients would be happier waiting for care if their actual wait was less than their estimated wait time, reports The Wall Street Journal Health Blog. This proved to be correct as patients indicated on satisfaction surveys that they were happier with their care as related to wait times. ER doctors calculated the average time a patient usually waits for specific procedures and added 20% to give patients the inflated wait time.

When asked if their overestimated wait times were unethical, doctors felt that by telling patients the exact average wait time they could wait, that wait time would be incorrect some of the time. That might lead to lower satisfaction scores.

To read the article, click here.