It's important to know expected patient waiting times, as this knowledge could enable improvements in patient and staff satisfaction as well as facilitate load-balancing of department resources and the development of long-term planning and strategies, according to the team led by presenter Oleg Pianykh, PhD.
After performing an in-depth study to investigate different time-predicting models, they found a class of simple and accurate models to predict waiting times, Pianykh said. The group's formula for estimating patient waiting time offered better predictive performance than methods in previous research, he said.
"This model was successfully implemented in [the] MGH patient waiting area, displaying predicted wait values on the monitors located at the front desks," Pianykh said. "Thus we gained another improvement: the arriving patients can see an accurate estimate of their wait time, and the front desk staff is relieved from guessing the answer to the most frequently-asked questions."