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Waiting time information in the Italian NHS: A citizen perspective

Sabina De Rosis, Elisa Guidotti, Sara Zuccarino, Giulia Venturi and Francesca Ferré

Health Policy, 2020, vol. 124, issue 8, 796-804

Abstract: Public involvement in the management and communication of waiting times is known to support initiatives to reduce waiting times, as well as increase fairness and promote transparency and accountability. In order to improve transparency and communication to citizens, Italy recently updated the National Regulatory Plan for Waiting Lists (2019–2021), which calls for the disclosure of waiting time information on healthcare provider webpages. This study analyses waiting time information for outpatient visits and digital services available on the institutional website pages of 144 public healthcare organisations in nine regions and two autonomous provinces of Italy. Web pages were analysed both in terms of the available information/services, using a grid, and in terms of the quality of the text using an advanced readability assessment tool (READ-IT). This information was complemented and validated by regional healthcare key informants during research-specific workshops. Waiting time information disclosure, digital services and text readability varied both within and between the regional healthcare systems and organisations. The types and characteristics of waiting time information and statistics vary considerably with a negative impact on their use for benchmarking and their readability and usability for booking purposes. Overall, communication weaknesses due to low harmonization and clarity of information can undermine efforts in effectively informing and involving the public through online waiting time data disclosure.

Keywords: Waiting times; Healthcare; Online information; Readability; Italy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:124:y:2020:i:8:p:796-804

DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2020.05.012

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