Long patient wait times have been a hindrance to the patient experience for as long as medical practices have existed. Patients have waited over an hour to get in an exam room with their physician only to spend a few minutes visiting with them. This has been the number one negative impact on patient satisfaction for many patients and continues to be. For providers looking to defeat patient wait times and offer their patients time-saving solutions, keep reading. These are the 4 most effective ways to reduce patient wait times and improve patient satisfaction.
1) Optimize Your Scheduling Process
By using the right tools, your team can optimize the scheduling process to utilize your provider’s time more effectively and offer your patients the flexibility they are looking for. Tools that help reduce patient wait times and accomplish time optimization include things like online and automated scheduling that helps your patients plan better. This removes a time-burden from your staff, empowering your patients to view all available appointments and schedule what works best for them. While helping your patients plan better, it also helps them cancel their appointment should they not be able to make it. This helps your physicians plan their day better and use their time more effectively, improving patient wait times.
2) Send Appointment Reminders
A common factor that delays patient wait times for patients who make it to the office is patients who are a no-show. No-shows impact patient wait times drastically as they keep everyone on hold to see if the patient will make it. While most practices have limits to how late a patient can be for their appointment before it is automatically canceled, it is still important that providers address no-shows and find ways to eliminate them. A great way to eliminate no-shows and reduce patient wait times is to offer appointment reminders to your patients. This includes more than the traditional phone call reminder completed by your staff. To save your staff time and make sure your patients remember their appointments providers must send text, email, and phone call reminders.
3) Offer a Top-of-the-Line Patient Portal
Frustrating patient wait times extend to more areas than just in the office. Patients also experience frustration with wait times when they have to remain on hold for extended periods over the phone. Patients who mean to cancel their appointment, but fail to make time to call the office or do not have time to wait on hold are also another contributor to no-show visits. A top-of-the-line patient portal enables patients’ quick access to schedule and cancel appointments as well as ask any questions they might have. The patient portal allows your patients to bypass the phone call to your front-line staff and message their physician directly. Here, providers can quickly communicate test results, lab results, and answer any questions.
4) Provide Telemedicine to Reduce Patient Wait Times
Did you know that Telehealth/Telemedicine offers the ability to drastically reduce patient wait times while also increasing the number of patients a physician can visit within a day? Telehealth enables patients to schedule visits with their providers that are then completed remotely. Via live-video communication patients are able to visit with their physician from home or work, clicking into the visit moments before it starts and avoiding frustrating office wait times. Telemedicine visits are shorter on average than an in-office visit and with the right software, your physician can access the patient’s chart, document the visit and file a claim all on the same screen. This enables your providers to not only visit with more patients and bill for more services in one day, but it simplifies healthcare for your patients.
To learn more about how a patient portal or telehealth software can help you practice reduce patient wait times and get ahead, click here.