Reducing Patient Wait Times in Rwandan Hospital Outpatient Services

Publication

In Rwanda, the Ministry of Health has committed to providing universal access to health services and improving the quality of care. An important factor that impacts quality and access to care is the amount of time patients wait to see providers at health facilities. Patients often report that they avoid coming to the health centers due to long wait times even though such delays could have serious consequences for their health.

The USAID Rwanda Health Systems Strengthening (RHSS) Project developed a set of guidelines and an Excel-based tool to facilitate the process of conducting client flow analysis. Using these tools, the team supported twelve hospitals which included; Ruhengeri, Kibungo, Bushenge, Rwamagana, Masaka, Muhima, Nemba, Butaro, Kabgayi, Nyamata, Gisenyi and Rutongo to conduct baseline assessments and monitor the evolution of their client flows. As a result of the analysis, hospitals are introducing interventions to address patient waiting times including: Introducing appointments for follow-up visits and mHealth tools that enable patients to schedule their own appointments; reviewing staffing patterns and shifting staff to cover peak times; and improving prescribing practices.