Healthcare News

5 Ways to Improve Patient Wait Times

By July 26, 2016 No Comments

When it comes to improving healthcare, care should be taken to improve each part of the experience.  This includes improving the experience for both providers of care, and the patients who receive care.  Today we want to focus on 5 ways to improve patient wait times.


According to a recent article on Evisit “Patient wait times may seem like a small part of the patient experience, but they can have a powerful effect on overall patient satisfaction. Software Advice, a company that reviews EHR software, conducted a survey of over 5,000 patients and found a staggering 97% of respondents were frustrated by wait times at the doctor’s office.  Virtually every patient has experience wasting time away in a medical office.”

If you are looking to improve patient satisfaction, and to improve the overall healthcare experience at your practice here are 5 ways to improve patient wait times (and help streamline the intake process for front desk staff and providers!)


Step One: Gather Patient Information, Before the Patient Arrives


This is one of the most effective ways to decrease in office wait times.  Check in paperwork, or new patient information can easily be gathered before a patient comes in for their appointment.  Consider sending out a new patient packet via email at the time of appointment, or gathering the requested information via a secure online portal.  Not only will this improve wait times at your office, it will also improve prior authorizations for your practice and allow staff to gather and verify patient information well before the actual appointment.


Step Two: Engage the Patient in the Process


Communication during the waiting period can go a long way toward improving patient satisfaction.  Consider utilizing new technology.  Several platforms are available which allow patients to complete a self-check in and receive updates as to where they are in line, and real time updates as to when they will be called back for their appointment.


Step Three: Make the Wait Meaningful With Clinical Data Gathering


Make the wait time even more meaningful by utilizing DocResponse in your office prior to the patients being seen for their visit.  The DocResponse platform is a dynamic self-guided assessment that will walk patients thought an interactive set of questions and will provide a list of differential diagnosis’ as well as the likelihood of diagnosis of a specific condition.  The utilization of the DocResponse platform allows providers to gather critical information about a patient and their symptoms, and provides patients with related education material via a proprietary platform that has been recognized by Harvard as the most accurate diagnostic assessment available on the market.


Step Four: Analyze The Process at Your Practice


Take a look at the process at your practice, and identify areas for improvement.  Consider tracking to see how long each step of the front desk process takes at your practice – from the time a patient walks in for their appointment – to the time that it takes for them to be seen by a provider.  Look for common bottlenecks in the process, and design improvements around these bottlenecks to decrease wait times and improve patient satisfaction.


Step Five: Don’t Forget Atmosphere


What kind of message is your waiting area sending? Is the seating comfortable? Is there a television or a variety of up to date magazines? Are individuals offered something to drink when they come in and sit down? The waiting area of your practice is where patients form their first impression of the care that is provided, and a pleasant atmosphere with kind front desk staff can go a long way toward improving the experience while someone is waiting.


Above all, remember that by improving wait times at your practice you are making an important step toward improving overall patient satisfaction! For more information about how DocResponse can be utilized for your practice to assist in clinical and patient satisfaction improvements reach out to us via social, or email us at