Improving Patient Wait Times: Vital to Patient Satisfaction

Living in a World of Convenience

As a society, we value convenience now more than ever with on demand services, such as Uber, Lyft, and Amazon Prime, soaring in popularity. Therefore, it’s not surprising that people do not like to spend their valuable time in a physician’s waiting room. I go to great lengths to avoid these long waits - I read online reviews to find the most efficient offices, utilize virtual care, or make my appointments at odd times to avoid peak hours.

I am not the exception in this case. In fact, 30 percent of people reported they’ve walked out of an appointment due to long waits, and 1 in 5 people have changed doctors because of a long wait. Furthermore, physicians with the highest ratings have lower average wait times than poorly rated physicians. Even 49% of patients rated their physicians positively if they waited 15 minutes or less. Yet, only 27% of patients left a positive review if they waited for 45 minutes. Thus, long wait times directly impact patient satisfaction and retention, which is why many healthcare organizations are using Lucro to find the best solution for this issue.

Doctor Appointment Wait Time

How Are Others Reducing Their Patient Wait Times?

Patient pre-registration is one way physician offices can reduce the amount of time patients spend at the office. Offices can contact patients ahead of time via text, email, or patient portals to collect health and insurance information. Improved scheduling, such as digital tools that schedule in real-time, also make it easier for patients to choose appointments that work well with their schedules, which can decrease the number of patient no-shows.

Some offices have adopted open access scheduling, which allows patients to book same-day appointments. When providers keep their days 65-75% open, offices are more efficient because their days are not overbooked, and they can take urgent cases. This type of scheduling reduced Kaiser Permanente’s 55-day wait period down to one day, increasing the likelihood of a patient seeing his or her personal physician.

Unfortunately, sometimes long wait times are unavoidable, and organizations need to be transparent with their patients to keep them satisfied. For instance, 80% of patients would be less frustrated if they knew how long they would be waiting. Offices can keep patients updated by displaying wait times or even contacting them prior to their appointments when there are delays. Practices can employ a variety of technologies to improve communication between the provider and patient, and in turn, they can better meet the needs of the patient.

Take your time

Finding the Right Solutions in Lucro

If healthcare organizations focus on improving the tools they use for appointment scheduling and other management solutions, they can begin reducing wait times and fueling patient satisfaction. Many Provider organizations have created projects in Lucro to find these solutions.

Based on some of the research we’ve done to find solutions for those projects, here are some of the innovative vendors who have caught their attention*:

Swiftqueue

Swiftqueue is a cloud delivered appointment scheduling and enterprise resource management solution. The platform coordinates care delivery in acute and community settings managing resource and capacity planning, patient flow and clinic rules.

Healthware Systems

Healthware systems (activeTRACK) provides real-time patient status and tracking. Their messaging platform notifies clinical staff of patient arrivals, registration status, and can be used as a communication tool between registration and clinical departments. ActiveTRACK also measures registration, throughput, and wait times in real-time. This allows management to proactively allocate resources in real-time. 

Oculys Health Informatics

Oculys prEDict is a real-time communication tool that provides wait-time calculations based on research of ED patient-flow patterns. It displays the current estimated wait-time to see a physician from triage in 30-minute intervals, the number of people waiting to be treated, and a projection of wait-times over the next six-hour period based on analyzed past trends.

Clockwise.MD

Clockwise.MD is working with the urgent care market to implement online reservations that push wait times to the website in real time. They also provide text alerts that communicate delays and reservation status to patients, so they can wait from the location of their choice. 

OpenDoctor

OpenDoctor allows patients to schedule online, in real-time directly to the internal schedule. They also allow patients to complete registration forms and/or check-in for their appointment directly from their own device.

Long wait times have been an issue in the healthcare industry for some time, and dissatisfied patients means lower retention rates and a poor experience. Therefore, physician practices and clinics must utilize different strategies and technologies to allow more patients to be seen in the most efficient way possible.

 

CREATE A PATIENT WAIT TIME PROJECT

 

*List is solely based on solutions considered for multiple projects and is not all encompassing of the vendors found in Lucro. Lucro holds no association with any of these companies, revenue or otherwise.

 

Did you have an experience waiting at the doctor that was good? How did the provider expedite your wait time? Tell us about it below!

 

 Allie Gutermuth

Allie Gutermuth
Client Services Extraordinaire, Lucro

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