Reducing Patient Wait Times
No one wants to spend more time than they have to waiting in line; this is especially true when waiting in line at the doctor’s office, when you most likely aren’t feeling your best. One of the top complaints patients have about their doctor’s visit is the long wait time. While you can’t change a negative prognosis, you can do something about your patients’ experience in the waiting room. Follow the tips below to reduce patient wait times in your office:
- Have patients fill out intake paperwork before their visit. While not every patient will remember to fill out their intake forms in advance, giving patients the option will definitely speed up the check-in process overall. You can make your forms available on your website as well as email them to the patient after they book their appointment.
- Set a policy for late arrivals. Determine an amount of time that a patient can be late before it affects their visit – say, 15 minutes. If the patient is more than 15 minutes late, the appointment must be cancelled and rescheduled. If this happens more than once, or if they are a complete no-show, send them a small fine in order to discourage late arrivals that put your office behind schedule.
- Take the phones away from the front desk, especially during busy check-in times, as this keeps your staff from interacting with the patients right in front of them. In addition, leaving callers on hold for long periods of time while your receptionist works with patients in the office can be frustrating. Instead, keep scheduling and taking calls a back office responsibility.
- Work ahead. Just as patients can complete their paperwork in advance, your front desk staff can do insurance verifications and authorizations for future visits during down time between visits. This way, patients can be checked in much more quickly once they arrive, moving the lines faster and keeping your patients happier.