5 Quick Tips To Reduce Patient Wait Times Easily
A recent survey shows that 30% of patients already left an appointment due to long queues and, 20% of physicians change their time because of wait times. In another study, it was found that patients spend more than 50% of their total time waiting than actually receiving care.
Waiting for a long time is a frustrating experience. Healthcare organizations can adopt a series of strategies to make healthcare access more available for patients and keep wait times down. Healthcare should use clinical resources and technology effectively that helps patients and organizations can work to reduce waiting times for patients. In this article, we explain to you the 5 quick tips to reduce patient wait times easily.
What Is Patient Wait Times In Healthcare?
Waiting times are a reflection of how healthcare organizations work. It will be a part of the patient's life till the inappropriate treatment, operational or technical inefficiencies, and misalignment of services are here. What needs to be understood is that it is not the accidental long waiting time in some hospitals which causes patient disappointment, but it is the lack of communication about it from the hospital to the patients that prove to be a dampener.
Long appointment wait times occur because healthcare organizations have more patients who need appointments than appointments available. Some hospitals can overcome this problem by creating more appointments and patient care access. To make waiting more bearable, Some organizations can also use patient education strategies to help patients triage themselves. But these steps at diverting the patient's attention don't solve the problem itself.
If a patient's appointment is running late due to certain clinical or non-clinical circumstances, the hospital must readily and sincerely indicate the same to the patient with their honest, empathetic apologies. Most patients are nice, rational human beings and will more often than not understand the delay as long as they are informed nicely and on time. It all comes down to efficient communication. In a research, it was revealed that 80% of the patients would be less disappointed if they knew how long the wait would be and a personal apology from the doctor or hospital side would reduce frustration for 70% of patients.
Why It Is Important To Reduce Patient Wait Time?
Today, 90% of patients have researched a doctor or hospital before visiting. Chances are high that most of your patients have looked you up online. They may have been pleased with your reviews, or they may have decided you were worth a shot despite them—but after a visit, they could change their mind.
This fact is not just limited to primary care. Even patients who receive a referral from another doctor are likely to research that referral online. And if they don’t like what they see, they may seek out a second option.
1. Know Your Patients Well Before Their Appointments
Patient data is very useful for purposes beyond the treatment of individuals. Data from many patients are combined to plan our health care system, making sure we have the right facilities where they are most needed. It’s used to monitor safety, making sure drugs aren’t causing unexpected side effects, and improve quality, by analyzing how the health service is being run. Patient data is also vital for research. If patients prep by providing their pertinent information before they arrive, it reduces the time they fiddle with clipboard and pen while you wait.
2. Use A Secure Messaging System
It’s impossible to share patient information efficiently when relying on slow computers and pagers. Secure instant messaging software allows doctors, nurses, and office personnel to share sensitive information like patient X-rays, prescribed medications, charts, and more. Look for a solution that deploys high-grade encryption that safely guards electronically protected health information (ePHI) during transmission.
3. Set Expectations To Reduce Wait Times
Unclear wait times have also been shown to contribute to patient frustration, and the same holds outside of your practice. Thus, wait times are now provided for everything from pizza delivery to standing in line for a theme park ride. Yet some practices still fail to provide an estimated wait time for their patients. Offering a rough estimate lets patients know they have time to open a magazine or load a website on their smartphones instead of anxiously eyeing the clock and wondering what’s taking the doctor so long.
4. Explain The Wait Time And Provide Updates
One reason why long waits are so agitating is that patients feel as though their time isn’t being respected by the practice. Instead of letting patients assume the worst, whenever possible your staff should explain the wait and ease patients’ concerns. Patients will often flip from feeling frustrated to forgiving upon learning that the physician was called into an emergency surgery or that the office’s EHR system is temporarily down. After informing patients about the reason for a delay or long wait, provide periodic updates so they don’t feel forgotten.
5. Ask For Patient Feedback
Everyone likes to feel heard. So in many instances, simply asking patients for feedback after their appointments will minimize dissatisfaction. A study found that dissatisfied customers whose complaints are taken care of are more likely to recommend the business to others than are satisfied customers. Consider administering a brief survey to gauge patient attitudes about your practice’s wait time. Your patients will appreciate the opportunity to voice any frustrations and that you care enough about their waiting room experience to look for ways to improve it.
To stay competitive in today’s healthcare marketplace, these 5 tips will help you to reduce patient wait times easily. Vozo telehealth and patient portal are designed in a way to minimize patient wait times and result in better health outcomes. Our advanced software will help you to maintain costs, increase referrals from the existing patients, and achieve better revenue growth. Schedule a demo to know more about our health software.