Waiting time for outpatient specialist care in Lombardy Region: evaluating accessibility and quality of information on websites of public health agencies and healthcare structures

P. Magnoni, D. Carnevali, L. Cavazzana, N. Principi, L. Grimoldi, M. Marsilio, S. Castaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Waiting time for outpatient specialist care is an ever-present problem for all Countries with a universal healthcare system. In Italy, information about waiting times must be available on all websites belonging to public health agencies and healthcare structures. The aim of the present descriptive study is to evaluate the accessibility and quality of such information on websites of all public health agencies and healthcare structures in Lombardy Region. METHODS: All websites belonging to 8 health agencies (ATS), 27 public hospitals (ASST), 4 research and teaching hospitals (IRCCS) were analyzed using a newly designed 30-item checklist. The items were scored 0/1 and grouped in five categories: Accessibility, Architecture, Content, Interactivity, Utility. RESULTS: In all, 76.3% of websites reported their waiting times directly, but three did not update data at least monthly as required by current legislation. Less than half of websites provided information aimed at raising awareness and tackling no-shows, and only 10.5% explained the role of private practice in public structures when maximum waiting times are exceeded. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of exposition of waiting times on some websites belonging to ATS, ASST and IRCCS appears to be a relevant issue. There is also little empowering information that may help tackle waiting times themselves. These results warrant further efforts to improve accessibility, quality and transparency of information for all citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalAnnali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunita
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • Checklist
  • Online
  • Outpatient care
  • Waiting lists
  • Websites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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