Excessive patient waiting time continues to be a challenge for providers across the US. At times, it can take a month or more for patients to obtain an initial outpatient appointment which delays their access to care. Long waiting time not only has a negative impact on the patient’s health but also brings down their satisfaction level.
Patients report low level of confidence in care providers if they have to wait for a long time at their practice.
Longer wait time not only impacts the overall satisfaction level for the patients but also impacts the way patients will be perceiving care and instructions provided by the physicians. Therefore, it is very important for practices to adopt the right methods for optimising patient wait time.
Even though wait times are sometimes unavoidable, it is important that providers value their patients’ time because they are paying for a service. Here are some of the ways to optimise wait time at a medical practice:
- It helps to hire a team of well-trained staff members who will be juggling and balancing all forms of front-office tasks. From answering patient’s phone calls to checking their in and out, it is necessary to have more than one staff to handle these tasks so that patients don’t have to keep waiting. This will reduce wait time and also streamline workflow at the practice.
- Industry experts recommend patients to use check-in systems that work on web-based technology. These systems allow patients to wait for their appointment at a location of their choice while their place will be held in the queue at the doctor’s office. The patient will be notified via a text message once it is time for their appointment.
- Every practice should encourage patients to schedule their appointments early. Experts recommend scheduling appointments for early morning slots because first appointments of the day are usually on time.
- Another great way of optimizing wait time is through motivating your patients to use the patient portal. They can use the portal to fill out the paperwork, submit insurance information and also gain access to updates. This will reduce the time they spend in the waiting room. Practices need to ensure that the patient portal is easy to use for all types of patients as it can be a great tool in reducing patient wait times.