Patient satisfaction with after-hours care for an urgent problem is higher if provided by their own family physician or their physician’s after-hours clinic, compared with a walk-in clinic, the emergency department and telephone health advisory services.

According to a survey of 1,227 patients from 36 practices in Thunder Bay, Ontario, who were asked to rate their satisfaction on a 7-point scale, patients reported highest satisfaction when care was received from their own family physician (6.1) followed by an after-hours clinic affiliated with their physician (5.6). Those who obtained care at a walk-in clinic or who used more than one service reported the lowest satisfaction rating (4.7).

As health systems emphasize improved access and continuity for patients, this study can inform the proliferation new models of care. The authors suggest that these findings support increasing financial and human resources to enhance access to practice-based primary care services.

Patient Satisfaction With Care for Urgent Health Problems: A Survey of Family Practice Patients
By Michelle Howard, M.Sc., Ph.D., et al

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