The ecology of the patient visit: physical attractiveness, waiting times, and perceived quality of care

J Ambul Care Manage. Apr-Jun 2008;31(2):128-41. doi: 10.1097/01.JAC.0000314703.34795.44.


This study examined the relationship between the attractiveness of the physical environment of healthcare facilities and patient perceptions of quality, service, and waiting time through systematic observations and patient satisfaction surveys at 7 outpatient practices at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Findings indicate positive correlations between more attractive environments and higher levels of perceived quality, satisfaction, staff interaction, and reduction of patient anxiety. The comparison of actual observed time and patients' perception of time showed that patients tend to overestimate shorter waiting times and underestimate longer waiting times in both the waiting area and the examination room. Further examinations of the way outpatient-practice environments impact patient and staff perceptions and how those perceptions impact behavior and medical outcomes are suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Office Visits*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Waiting Lists*