Improving patient satisfaction by adding a physician in triage

Jason Imperato, Darren S. Morris, Leon D. Sanchez, Gary Setnik


Background: The physician in triage (PIT) model has been proposed as a process improvement to help increase efficiency in the Emergency Department setting. However, its effect on patient satisfaction has not been well established.

Methods: An interventional study comparing patient satisfaction scores for the 6-month period before and after
implementation of a physician in triage model. In our system an additional attending physician was assigned to triage
from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Outcome measures were mean scores obtained from respondents to Press Ganey® patient satisfaction surveys for selected questions most likely to be impacted by PIT implementation and those included in the physician section of the survey.

Results: Five hundred and eight respondents seen in the six months before the initiation of the PIT team and 458 respondents in the six months after the system change were included in the study. Improvement was noted in the absolute Press Ganey® scores in the Post-PIT time period across all questions analyzed with statistically significant differences noted for 8 of the 10 questions studied.

Conclusions: Although seemingly small there was a statistically significant improvement in the absolute patient
satisfaction scores after adding a physician in triage. Because small gains in absolute scores can result in large improve-
ments on the percentile rank when using Press Ganey® surveys, physician in triage may be of significant benefit to overall patient satisfaction.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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