Online Program

Use of mobile phones to calculate consultation time and comparing with perceived time in private clinics in erbil city, Iraq

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wali Omer, MD, MPH, MD, Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq
Background: Length of consultation time is one of the most important predictors of better diagnosis and patient satisfaction with health care. Up to now, there is not study in Iraq that has accurately calculated the consultation in private clinics (solo practitioners). Anecdotal evidence suggest it is very short and much below standards. Aim: to calculate actual consultation time by using mobile phones and comparing to perceived time and relating them to patient satisfaction. Methods: this study used mobile phones in an innovative way to calculate actual consultation time in 10 private solo medical clinics and 168 patients in Erbil city, Kurdistan region of Iraq in October 2012. The clinics were randomly selected. Consultation time data was collected through two observes in each clinic: each patient was given a number and this number was sent through an SMS to the study supervisor when the patient entered the clinic. The second observer send patient's number when they entered doctor's room and another SMS when they came out. Data from the mobile phones were imported into a spreadsheet and the timestamp of the SMS was used to analyze consultation time. A questionnaire was used to collect data about perception of consultation time and their satisfaction with it. Results: average calculated consultation time was 6.2 min which is significantly lower than the perceived time by the patient in which was 10.7 min. Less than a third (31%) correctly estimated consultation time, while 61% have overestimated and 8% underestimated consultation time. Many doctors were admitting more than one patient (on average 3-4) at the same time to the examining room. Despite the low consultation time, the majority patients (95%) were satisfied. Conclusions: on average, actual consultation time is very low in private clinics in Erbil city, Iraq although most patients were satisfied with their experience.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Communication and informatics
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Design a study using mobile phones to calculate actual consultation time. Compare actual and perceived consultation time in Iraq (and most developing countries).

Keyword(s): Quality, Workflow Analysis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Wali Omer, MD, MPH, PhD, faculty member at College of Medicine, Halwer Medical University in Erbil, Iraq with research interests of health systems, health informatics, GIS and human behavior in health and disease. Awards: Fulbright-Humphrey fellowship (at JHSPH 2009-2010).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.