Patient’s long wait times are the one key concern that impacts their experience and leads to dissatisfaction. Sometimes, long waiting queues make the patients determine if they are satisfied with the services or need to find assistance elsewhere.
For example, patients become doubtful towards medical workers after being in a long queue. Meanwhile, this outbreak hits the healthcare professionals hardly, with long working hours, and causing stress as the new normal. Similarly, the downsides are encountered by other industry verticals such as retail, businesses, banks, and more.
So, how hospitals can improve the patient’s long queuing experience and streamline the effective procedure appears as a vital concern. Luckily, a wide array of tips or ways comes in handy that not only decreases the wait times for patients but helps the healthcare professionals to boost their service’s productivity.
Want to explore? Let’s have a look together.
Ways to Reduce Hospital Wait Times
By organizing the scheduling access, increasing the availability, and improving the staff management, medical service providers can work on patient satisfaction. Some effective measures are shared below.
1. Incorporate Mobile Queuing Solution
Firstly, all the clinics and hospitals need to reduce the patient crowd to avoid virus spread. Here, virtual queuing acts as a great way to avoid physical waiting and improve the patient experience. With virtual sign-in and queuing, patients can schedule the appointment through the online portal or mobile queue app. This enables:
- Patients to fill and submit the paperwork online on their own, enabling professionals to gather the patient information in advance
- Sending automated SMS messages and reminders updating them on their waiting status or any delay occurrences
- Consistent interaction with the patients and empowering them to gain command over their time
While there is time for the patient’s turn, they can relax at home, grab a cup of coffee, or wait in their cars until they are called to obtain assistance. Virtual queuing enables easy patient flow management and renders comfort with constant queue updates. Finally, self-scheduling motivates the social distancing practice and keeps the infection spread at bay.
2. Self-Service Opportunities and Managed Peak Hours
Even in the present pandemic situation, flooding in patients is unavoidable without a proper queue management system. Your main aim should be to avoid a backlog of patients on the waiting list and reduce the capacity of patients waiting at one time.
Here, patients can analyze themselves using a sign-in kiosk, which further eliminates the physical line hassles. Also, an automated queuing system reduces the burden, therefore, lowering the overstaffed costs. Patients can easily share their information, helping the medical experts to plan ahead of time for their care.
For example, medical facilities can have a QR code queue management system to hold their place in a queue. Its advantage is that it saves time by distributing the responsibilities. Furthermore, customers would have a shorter wait time because the workload can be better prepared.
3. Switch Phone Job to Secure SMS Messaging
Have you ever had an appointment at the clinic or hospital? You may have experienced a reminder call. It is a popular practice in hospitals to minimize no-shows and inform patients about appointment delays if any. However, this approach is no longer useful the way it used to be.
Although calls are a great way to remind people of appointments, most people prefer SMS. These days, medical facilities tend to SMS the patients over calling as it reduces the phone times. Furthermore, the call could be placed at an inconvenient moment and not be answered. Remember any call you left unattended because of watching loud TV, showering, or phone on mute. Phone calls are inappropriate, although text messages can be sent or read at one’s comfort.
As a result, switching from phone to SMS not only saves time for the hospital staff but also reduces patient wait times. Furthermore, patients will appreciate easy accessibility to healthcare.
4. Utilize Patient Surveys to Find Improvement Areas
Strengthening the hospital queue management system is a never-ending process that begins with understanding the patient’s waiting experience. It’s important to listen to what patients have to say. Hearing the feedback on the fact is important than putting yourself in their place. Their feedback can help you analyze the patient care bottlenecks and determine the speed bumps.
Begin with tracking the patient’s journey. From the time they arrive to the time they depart, keep track of and patient’s progress. Incorporate automated solutions for hassle-free check-in and building the communication medium. When patients feel at ease and confident in expressing their concerns, they are much more trustworthy and critical.
5. Consider Telemedicine Services
Remote visits have become the new norm and a substitute for virtual queues. Providing patient care virtually has made the doctors switch to happier patients, less spread of the virus, and reduced waiting hassles.
Telemedicine enables patients to seek online assistance from doctors regarding their medical concerns. Patients could be treated comfortably at home without having to wait in packed waiting rooms.
However, if a patient needs physical testing, staff can schedule their arrival and prepare accordingly. For example,
- Protection gears
- An isolation ward
- Safety measures or protocols
All in all, contributing to virtual health support can probably lower the wait times and enable the doctors to handle less critical cases virtually.
Patient satisfaction is becoming a more significant success measure for doctors and long waiting times are the way to determine it. Here, diminishing wait times should be a top priority of healthcare facilities. So, to speed up the care:
- Invest in queue scheduling systems so patients arrive accordingly
- Software to ease up the patient documentation
- Monitor staffing challenges so certain reasons for delays can be identified and resolved
- Update patients regarding any delays via texts so avoid the crowd and improve patient experience
Remember that long physical queues and increased wait times depict the risk of losing patients. Also, patients can face an impact on a variety of levels. So, no matter what measure you choose, increase your efficiency and ensure that patients are happy and satisfied.