A questionnaire was developed to evaluate the journey experienced by patients from identifying a need to see a community specialist in Israel's public healthcare system, through scheduling an appointment and attending. A telephone survey was conducted with a nationally representative group of 3751 adults, in 2019 to 2020. Fifty-seven percent needed to see a specialist in the last 6 months; among those, 82%, visited a specialist. Among the 3% who did not make an appointment, in 41 of 52 (79%) cases this was due to long waiting time. Younger and more educated patients were more likely to try to get an earlier appointment. Timeliness (55%) and wanting a specific physician (43%) were major considerations in scheduling. Reported need was greater in females, Jewish versus Arab respondents, more educated and those with chronic illness. Those who did not make an appointment sought private care, emergency treatment, or went untreated. Although a large percentage of respondents did eventually get an appointment, vulnerable patients may have more difficulty navigating the system. Following the patient journey can provide insights to help design services better suited to patients’ needs.
- appointment scheduling
- patient preferences