Quantitative Methods in Healthcare: Contributing to Customer Satisfaction and Quality Design
For the healthcare industry, customer satisfaction is becoming the new measure of quality delivery of care and design. Quantitative methods such as queuing theory and simulation have been proved useful when looking at issues such as waiting times in healthcare settings. Research using queuing theory and computer simulation was conducted recently at an internal medicine practice at the Sycamore Primary Care Center, affiliated with Kettering Medical Center and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Data were collected with regard to wait times, service delivery times, and customer satisfaction. From these data, conclusions could be drawn and recommendations made for improving the service delivery process. With the data collected, a simulation was run to determine mean number of patients in the system and the mean number of patients waiting at a time, which can be used for waiting room design purposes. Both the literature search and the data-gathering process bore out the hypothesis that quantitative analysis serves as a useful tool that can be applied in many ways to the benefit of the healthcare manager and designer. This methodology serves to provide the decision-maker with supportive quantitative data. The quantitative data are valuable for predicting how a system or process will function and providing measurable characteristics of the process, which are useful for evaluation purposes. The ability to evaluate a process will be useful in predicting whether that process will improve customer satisfaction.