One of the biggest downfalls between a practice and its patients is with time management. Long patient wait times can make a patient reconsider visiting your practice and patient/doctor trust can become strained. Here are a few ways your practice can cut down on wait times:
1. Utilize Patient Portals
Allow patients to check-in before they arrive via an online patient portal. These systems allow a patient to update their insurance information, fill out needed paperwork, and receive any updates regarding appointments or your practice in real time. Eliminating the in-person check-in process for the majority of patients will allow you to run a few minutes early.
2. Offer Telemedicine
Do you have patients that don’t necessarily need to be seen in-office? In some states, your practice might use HIPPA-compliant video-conferencing tools to handle less-critical patients. This can allow doctors to quickly access the patient and offer their expertise all while taking little time away from other patients.
3. Use a Live Queue App
A queue app is used to allow patients to see where they fall in “line” and how long their wait is. This allows them to leave the office or show up right when they would be called back. If used in conjunction with a patient portal, many patients might only see the exam room.
4. Update and Enforce your Policies
If you have a problem with late-arriving patients, then you should enforce a strict late-arrival policy. Late-arrivals impede on a practice’s workflow for the remainder of the work day. Implement a clear policy that late-arrivals must reschedule their appointment after a set amount of time past their scheduled appointment time.
5. Secure Messaging System
According to the PEW Research center, 97% of Americans are using text messaging on their smartphones. 64% of Americans also prefer texting over a phone call. A large portion of younger patients also do not check their voicemails. A text message is much faster than a phone call. Your office can text about appointment reminders, test results, and answer simple questions that the patient may have.