According to a study by Sequence, a UX design agency, 85 percent of patients say they see their doctor between 10 and 30 minutes after their scheduled appointment time, and 63 percent report that sitting in the waiting room is the most stressful part of their doctor’s appointment. There are many ways that you as a practice manager can combat this. Read the tips below to find out how.
Address bottlenecks in your check-in system.
There are several ways to create less work and less stress for your front office staff, making them more available to those checking in for their appointments. Implement an online booking system and automatic reminder calls, and make intake paperwork available online so your patients can spend less time at reception.
Maximize efficiency in your providers’ schedules.
While you do want your providers to see as many patients as possible, you should also be realistic about how many patients can be seen in a single day. Furthermore, you providers may each spend different amounts of time with their patients. Work with each provider to get the most quality time with each of their patients.
Create a relaxing environment in your waiting room.
This can take many forms; keep the waiting room tidy with hourly walk-throughs by your front desk staff, incorporate nature or natural elements into your décor and keep up-to-date reading material stocked. This does not always mean magazines; offer a few books as well as information about your practice.
Offer a variety of seating options.
You can place some seats in front of the TV, some in a nook with toys and children’s books nearby, as well as some chairs and tables near power outlets so patients can feel productive in the time they spend in your waiting room.
Communicate wait times.
Transparency is important; if one of your providers is running behind schedule, it is better to let their patients know this in advance than to have them sit staring at their watches, thinking they’ll be brought in at any moment. This can help alleviate stress in the waiting room.
How do you make your waiting room more friendly for patients? Share in the comments below.