Waiting time refers to the period a patient waits in the clinic or hospital before being seen by medical staff. It is easy to see this as a barrier to receiving consultation and/or treatment. Sometimes it may seem as though you are waiting unnecessarily, which can cause stress for you as the patient.
A common source of dissatisfaction reported among patients is the amount of time they wait to wait to be attended to by health professionals in the clinic. This article will show you some ways to help you relax during your waiting time.
Place TVs in Reception Areas
A reception with comfortable seats, various assorted magazines, newspapers, and one or more television sets running in the background is a great way to keep patients distracted. It’s usually the boredom above all else that gets to them. TVs in reception areas can provide good entertainment to help them pass time while they wait to be attended to.
Introduce a Digital Queue System
Digital queues are a good way of tracking patient wait times and preventing patients from getting stressed. Patients can join a digital queue which updates them on when their number is moving up or next in line to be attended to. This allows them to have greater control over their time.
Patients can de-stress by going on a lunch break or relaxing at a nearby coffee shop. Health workers can also keep track of the flow of their patients. An intercom with a person or machine announcing the next person in line can also help.
Implement Policies for Late Arrivals and No-Shows
Many patients are held up because another patient either failed to show up on time for their appointment or didn’t show up at all. Over time these no-shows and late arrivals add up to precious man-hours lost.
Charging repeat offenders a certain fee is the most effective way of curbing this. Another way is ensuring there are emails, calls, or text messages so that patients who have pending appointments are aware of their status.
Ask for Feedback
Hearing the opinion of patients on the waiting time could help them find an outlet, and help clinics identify bottlenecks in their daily operations. This allows them to paint an accurate picture of where the problems in the procedure may lie.
Knowing where things are running off course and correcting this is key to reducing stress during patient wait times. These surveys and opinion boxes can be filled out in physical or digital form through mediums such as a suggestion box, phone number, or web portal.
Keep the Room Alive
No one likes going to the hospital for obvious reasons. But the amount of time we spend waiting to see a doctor makes it even worse.
Patient wait times may seem like a small part of the patient experience, but they can form a pivotal opinion on patient satisfaction. Even something as simple as offering free wi-fi and having refreshments nearby and can go a long way towards reducing stress in patients who are waiting in line at the clinic.
Interesting related article: “What is healthcare?”