With technology making life faster and more convenient than ever before, people barely wait for many tasks that once seemed time-consuming. However, some people see doctor’s offices as falling behind in this regard. They still dread in-office visits, deeming them inconvenient time-fillers because of long patient wait times.
According to a recent study, approximately 30% of patients have left a practice before being seen because of long wait times, while 20% have changed providers for the same reason. Scenarios like this have the potential to cause long-term damage to a practice, ranging from increased negative online reviews to decreased patient volume. Thankfully, there are ways to improve wait times and prevent problems like this altogether.
Here are 6 simple ways for any practice to improve patient wait times and shorten visits!
Incorporate an Accurate Diagnostic Tool Pre-visit
When patients are given an online symptom checker to complete prior to their visit, this gives doctors a better idea of the patient’s chief complaints before they enter the exam room. The best assessment tools push data directly into notes for provider review, and then give a short list of possibilities for the patient’s diagnosis. This is especially helpful when the tool generates the proper ICD-10 codes for them, reducing unnecessary keystrokes and code-hunting, which also leave the patient waiting.
Consider Adding Online Scheduling
When patients arrive at a practice and all front desk staff are busy scheduling appointments on the phone, this leads to frustration. Busy phone lines lead to busier staff, and this is never good for patient wait times. When practices offer online scheduling and canceling directly from their website, this frees up phone lines and allows front desk staff to take care of patients more quickly.
Make Check-in and Pre-visit Registration Digital
Patients save valuable minutes each visit when they’re not handed a clipboard stacked with papers to complete in the waiting room. By choosing a comprehensive digital check-in solution that allows patients to enter all demographic data, insurance information, HPI, ROS, and other information pre-visit, they cut down on wait times significantly. The more data the practices gather prior to the visit, the more relaxed and happier patients will feel.
Keep all Screeners and Forms Electronic
Similar to check-in and registration, allowing any questionnaires, forms, or screeners to be completed digitally pre-visit is a surefire way to reduce patient wait times. Comprehensive patient engagement platforms have the ability to do exactly that, as well as remind practices if there is any missing documentation or information from the patient. This not only saves time, but improves efficiency for the practice, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.
Increase Telemedicine Appointment Options
For patients who don’t need to be seen in person, allow them the option of telemedicine to save time. Even if they have to wait a few minutes for their appointment to begin, they’ll likely be more comfortable waiting in their own homes rather than an exam room. Moreover, they’ll save additional time by not having to drive all the way to the practice and back.
Streamline Payment Collections
Conversations about outstanding balances are not only uncomfortable, but also hold up lines at patient check-out. Eliminate the need for this by using a payment collection tool to streamline the process. This enables patient data to be securely stored and automatically sends out payment reminders to patients. Choose one that instantly displays any co-pays and balances in the patient’s workflow for added convenience.
Improve Patient Wait Times Through DocResponse
DocResponse is software that has been proven to save 11 minutes per patient visit and reduce wait times by 16 minutes. It accomplishes this by:
- Assessing patients with their Harvard-ranked diagnostic tool pre-visit
- Offering online scheduling to free up phone lines at the practice
- Having comprehensive digital check-in software with all pre-visit registration included
- Providing all forms, screeners, and questionnaires for the patient to complete digitally ahead of time
- Making telemedicine a simple, single-click solution for patients to easily and quickly connect to providers
- Displaying all balance and co-pay information in its interface while automatically sending out payment reminders
Ready to improve patient wait times at your practice? Schedule a demo with DocResponse today!