Factors affecting waiting time in ambulatory care services

Health Serv Res. Winter 1968;3(4):286-95.


Waiting time of patients to see physicians was measured and examined in relation to several variables, utilizing time data from eight ambulatory care facilities. Wide variation in length of waiting time for the institutions studied was found. Primary factors underlying these differences were the type of appointment system and the correspondence between the time the clinic began and the time physicians began to see patients. When physicians started examining patients at the beginning of the clinic session and when patients were given either individual appointments or time-spaced block appointments, waiting time (and associated congestion) was noticeably improved.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Humans
  • New York City
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data
  • Organization and Administration
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Time Factors