Watching your wait: evidence-informed strategies for reducing health care wait times

Qual Manag Health Care. 2008 Apr-Jun;17(2):128-35. doi: 10.1097/01.QMH.0000316990.48673.9f.


Nobody wants the health care system to be characterized by long, involuntary waits for treatment. Both a strong theoretical rationale and a growing number of case studies support approaches that address the root cause of long waits-usually a poorly designed system, rather than an absolute lack of capacity. This structured review of both peer-reviewed and "gray" literature on waitlist management identifies the 7 common problems that underlie long waitlists and describes remedies that have been successfully applied, using Canadian and British examples with international relevance. Understanding these issues can help administrators and providers develop effective wait-reduction strategies in diverse health care settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Health Facility Administration*
  • Humans
  • Waiting Lists*