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Simple Additions to the Pharmacy Waiting Area May Increase Patient Satisfaction

Originally Published:
2004
Key Point Summary
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Key Concepts/Context

Simple changes to pharmacy waiting areas, such as hanging posters related to the prescription filling process, are linked to patient satisfaction with a pharmacy.

Objectives

The study examined the links between simple modifications to a pharmacy waiting area and patient satisfaction with the pharmacy.

Methods

Data were gathered in an outpatient pharmacy after modifications were made to the waiting area. The environment of the pharmacy was changed by adding a 36 x 48 inch poster describing the prescription filling process; a display of the same size presenting pharmacy service updates and health information; newsletters on pharmacy- and health-relevant topics in magazine holders; a booth providing information about health services and the healthcare provider, in general; and a volunteer who staffed the desk and encouraged people waiting to use free services provided. Free services available included a blood pressure test station, a weight scale, a courtesy telephone, a window for consultations with pharmacists, and an adjoining health education lending library. Data were collected via a two-item questionnaire that gathered information on waiting room services used and satisfaction with the pharmacy. A total of 814 surveys were completed by people waiting in the pharmacy for prescriptions.

Design Implications
As Cheng states, “Additions to the waiting area may lead to more satisfying pharmacy wait experiences.  Keeping patients occupied with activities in the pharmacy effectively turns their attention away from the wait time, perhaps affording pharmacists the opportunity to dispense prescriptions in a reduced-stress environment.” 
Findings

Information from the 814 completed surveys indicated that 83% of study participants used at least one free pharmacy service, and 88% of them were satisfied or very satisfied with pharmacy service. People who used one free service were significantly more likely to categorize themselves as satisfied or very satisfied than participants who did not use at least one free pharmacy service. Patient satisfaction with the pharmacy increased as more services were used, and significantly higher ratings of satisfaction were received from people who viewed the poster, displays, or newsletters or used the information desk.

Limitations

• No control groups were used.
• Actual waiting times were not measured.
• Environmental conditions, such as crowding, were not factored into the analyses.

Design Category
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E)
Outcome Category
Patient satisfaction and comfort
Environmental Condition Category
Attractiveness of physical environment
Primary Author
Cheng, C.