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Eleven Ways to Improve Patient Wait Time

Eleven Ways to Improve Patient Wait Time

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  • 1. Adjust your perception.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 2. Employ an organized front office strategy.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 3. Schedule similar appointments together whenever possible.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 4. Give patients more control over scheduling.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 5. Develop multidisciplinary protocols.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 6. Minimize serial processes, evaluate parallel processes
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 7. Utilize Web-based technology.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 8. Encourage patient portal usage.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 9. Communicate with patients about delays.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 10. Collect patient feedback.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com
  • 11. Admit when you're wrong.
    © Aleksandr Bryliaev/Shutterstock.com

Patients tend to have a love-hate relationship with healthcare waiting rooms. On the one hand, their presence is required in order to be seen by the physician. But on the other hand, the unknown wait times may add stress to an already tense and unpleasant situation.

When you're not feeling well, the last thing you want to do is wait — sometimes hours — for your name to be called.

But both physicians and patients will be happy to hear that the tides are changing. Thanks to evolving technology and smarter work flow, patients are seeing not only a reduction in wait times, but the purposeful inclusion of convenience and flexibility too.

Here are eleven ways to improve patient wait times at your healthcare facility.

To view the slideshow in PDF format, click here.

Physicians Practice


Patient portals are a disaster waiting to happen. There is precisely 0 need to have any patient data facing the public internet, all you are doing is begging a half way competent hacker to see what his 'mad skillz' are multiplied by his time divided by your investment in security. Here is a hint as a former IT forensics tech, the hackers always win given enough time. Then you have a data breach and then you have 45 CFR §§ 164.400-414 paperwork to fill out. Just don't do it.

Robert @

Here are three more:
1. Do what can be done BEFORE the patient arrives. Check to see if any forms need updating, chase down any test results that haven't made it to the chart, and determine what payment should be made before the appointment. Especially if you are transitioning to an EHR, enter all the patient information beforehand to avoid the dreaded 45 minute registration delay. Unless your front office staff is on a staggered schedule, and I'll bet they are not, they usually have time at the end of the day when there are no more patients to be registered and it's not yet quitting time.
2. Recognize and schedule for the fact that there is a difference between when the patient is scheduled to be arrived and when they will be seen by a provider. I a patient needs an x-ray or lab work before being seen, a 9AM appointment for the patient may be a 10AM appointment for the provider. If you don't, the provider will be behind the rest of the day, as well as being frustrated by not having anyone to see at 9AM.
3. Leave some slack in the schedule. Everyone acknowledges that office traffic is, to some extent, unpredictable. Accept the reality and leave some room for it.

Carol Stryker, Symbiotic Solutions

Carol @

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