Surprising Ways to Reduce Healthcare Wait Times
Did you know you wait on average of 24 days between the day you set up your appointment to the actual appointment? You have to plan 3 weeks to a month to see your primary care provider.
In larger cities, some patients have to wait over 60 days before they can see their healthcare provider. Depending on the ailment, not everyone can wait that long to see a doctor.
Since most patients find healthcare wait time to be an important factor before and during a doctor visit, it’s understandable why many patients feel frustrated and unsatisfied with their healthcare experience.
Long healthcare wait times can lead to worsening conditions of patients. This causes a need for more complex care and higher healthcare costs.
Can you reduce healthcare wait times?
The answer is yes, you can. Here are some of the many ways any health system can reduce healthcare wait times to gain happier and healthier patients.
Expanding Office Hours
Do your providers struggle from overbooking? Expanding your office hours will allow more patients to be cared for in a day.
Longer office hours give patients more flexibility in choosing appointment times. People today can’t always take off work or school between 9 and 5. Patients will appreciate the extended office hours that better cater to everyone.
Expanding officer hours will get patients to see a provider sooner. More appointment availability in a day can help minimize long healthcare wait times.
Find unused time in providers’ existing schedules by looking for and adding up the provider’s “free” time. Chunks of available time in providers’ schedules are a great place to slowly add additional appointments.
Save time by scheduling surgeries and minor procedures during days and times the hospital is usually slow. This allows the hospital to better utilize time on slower days and prevent lengthy healthcare wait times.
When going about expanding office hours to reduce healthcare wait times, it is important to include providers in the conversation from the beginning. Expanding hours at the cost of burning out your providers must be avoided. Some health systems see success in staggering start times or offering longer shifts but fewer scheduled days. Ultimately, you want to get their input and make sure the options reflect their needs.
Waitlist Automation via Texting
Phone call reminders are kind and personable, but the unfortunately run the risk of being missed or forgotten if the patient is busy.
Text messages, on the other hand, are written in a convenient location and save you time on the phone. You can set up automatic text reminders with secure text messaging software. Patients will be less likely to arrive late or miss their appointment.
When a patient cancels an appointment, use automated texting to send out a text to several other patients who may be interested in moving up their appointment. Automating waitlist times via texting improves communication and transparency with patients.
Cut down on healthcare waiting times with automating waitlist text messaging.
Communication Improves Patient Experience
Delays are bound to happen, even with the perfect schedule. Keep lines of communication open with patients by letting them know of any delays.
Communication may not solve wait times, but patients will appreciate the transparency. This will, in turn, improve patients’ appointment experience.
Offer your patients a survey of their experience. Health systems welcoming patient feedback shows they genuinely care about their patients and are willing to find and fix problems patients face.
As a healthcare organization, you’ll learn what the patient experience is like, what they enjoyed during their visit, and what areas may need improvement.
Open Queue Solutions
Open queue solutions are a patient-centered way of scheduling that gives patients greater flexibility in scheduling appointments and finding earlier slots to shorten their wait time.
An automated waitlist process can allow patients to access appointments that open up and get them in sooner than they otherwise would have been able to. When an earlier slot opens, patients can receive a notification regarding the new availability and move their appointment if they desire.
Patients who have better access to scheduling a healthcare appointment and knowledge of their healthcare wait times are happier.
Balance Your Schedule
When an appointment slot becomes available during a busy day, you don’t want to spend extra time trying to find a way to fill it, right? Schedule balancing allows the flexibility to move patients to earlier appointments with other available providers.
Shoot patients a message with an earlier appointment date and time to get them in sooner rather than later. Last-minute cancellations and some no-shows can be handled in a similar method by contacting patients and offering them the ability to come into an earlier appointment.
Simply send a text to patients with the appointment details and let them decide. Many patients will prefer moving to an earlier time.
A few changes in provider schedules can significantly cut healthcare waiting times for patients.
Want to Learn More?
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Reducing healthcare wait times result in more patients receiving check-ups, additional revenue, and happier, healthier patients.
Want to learn more? Request a demo. We love the opportunity to learn about and help you improve your scheduling workflow.