waiting_room_2Angelic McDonald, director of Cardiovascular Imaging for Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, had a real mystery. Her department’s patient satisfaction scores were excellent except for studies involving contrast. Here, patients were complaining of long wait times, even though the wait times for contrast studies were exactly the same as for noncontrast studies. What was going on?

As McDonald described at the RBMA Fall Educational Conference, closer examination revealed that patients perceived the wait time between when they took the contrast agent and the start of the scan as a delay in starting the procedure. To counter this, staff began to actively inform patients at the time they took the contrast agent that the test was a two-part procedure and part one, taking the contrast agent, was happening when their appointment was scheduled to start.

The simple addition of this patient script solved the problem, and patient satisfaction for studies with contrast immediately began to match satisfaction for studies without contrast.

—L. Kauffman