4 Effective Tips for Reducing Patient Wait Time
The longer patients wait for care, the lower patient satisfaction will be for your facility. Provide quality care in a timely manner by implementing these four effective tips for reducing patient wait time.
1. Use a Patient Portal
Patient portals are websites that give patients access to their own medical records. The information available depends on the vendor and provider, but portals can include lab results, physician notes, discharge summaries, and immunization records.
Not all patients will use the portal, but many who value convenience will engage with this digital tool. The portal can decrease the amount of time your staff spends on scheduling appointments and answering some questions. Technology can make your practice more efficient, especially by improving and streamlining patient communication.
2. Create and Follow a Policy for Cancelations and Late Arrivals
Incentivize patients to come to their appointments on time, or to give advance notice of a cancelation. Create a policy for cancelations, late arrivals, and no-shows; your policy can outline fees and rescheduling opportunities.
Communicate how early patients should show up. Often, new patients should arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled time. Established patients can arrive a bit later, perhaps 5 minutes before the appointment time. These practices will help you efficiently block time throughout the day.
3. Modernize Equipment
The next effective tip for reducing patient wait time is to modernize equipment. From administrative tools to clinical devices, upgrading your equipment can help you move patients through their visits more smoothly. In the office, automated systems can free up staff time and reduce errors.
On the patient care side, consider replacing old devices. You might focus on equipment that performs multiple functions, or you may want to invest in another feature, such as portability. A portable device, such as an ultrasound machine, means patients don’t need to wait for specific rooms to become available to receive care.
4. Survey Patients
Give patients a survey to help identify bottlenecks that slow down the appointment process. Well-designed surveys can help you develop better practices; they also highlight what’s important to patients.
Occasionally, it’s not possible to eliminate wait time. Aside from learning which stages take the longest in the patient’s journey at your practice, the survey presents an opportunity to improve the waiting experience. Once you receive data about your patients’ experiences, you can remedy items that cause dissatisfaction.