5 Tips to Reduce Patient Dissatisfaction with Wait Times

Posted March 15, 2016 by Stacy Bolzenius

5 Tips to Reduce Patient Dissatisfaction with Wait Times

All patients have to spend some amount of time waiting for a doctor, but the longer they are kept waiting, the more upset they become. In fact, 97 percent of patients have reported frustration over having to wait when they are at the doctor’s office, according to a survey conducted by Software Advice. While waiting times for OB-GYN patients cannot be avoided entirely, there are some simple steps that women’s health practitioners can take to minimize them.

Provide Distractions

Giving patients something to do while they are waiting helps pass the time and can lower their frustration. Placing reading material, such as the latest magazines or newspapers, in waiting rooms and exam rooms can help patients stay occupied. Doctors could also offer free Wi-Fi access, allowing patients can use their smartphone or tablet while they are waiting.

Keep Patients Informed

Patients who are kept waiting without being updated or given a reason for longer wait times typically experience more frustration than those who are kept informed. Doctors’ receptionists should let patients know roughly how long their wait will be and provide them with an explanation for wait times when possible. This can help patients feel more at ease about having to wait. It also lets patients know that doctors are aware that they are waiting and how long they have had to wait already, which can reassure them that their time is being respected.

Bring Patients to Exam Rooms on Time

Having patients brought to an exam room on schedule, even if they have to wait there for a doctor, helps break up their waiting time. Nurses or assistants can start the appointment on time and take care of certain tasks, such as checking blood pressure, then have patients remain in the exam room while waiting to see their doctor. Doing this can make wait times seem shorter than having patients spend long periods of time in the waiting room before being seen by a nurse or assistant.

Doctors should let patients know roughly how long their wait will be.

Have Patient Information Ready Beforehand

Doctors can reduce wait times by having office staff gather and prepare patient information and paperwork, such as insurance information or referrals, before appointments. When patients arrive for their appointment, they will not have to spend as much time providing this information or filling out paperwork. If possible, patients should have the option to fill out paperwork online or at home and bring it with them to the office, which can help cut down on wait times.

Implement Policies for Late Arrivals and No-Shows

Patients who arrive late or those who do not show can set office schedules back, forcing other patients to wait. Create and enforce policies that discourage patients from showing up late for appointments or not showing up at all. This might include charging a cancelation fee or a late fee.

Get Ready for OB-GYN Boards

If you’re looking for ways to earn CME credit or if you’re getting ready for your OB-GYN board review for next year, call us today. Perinatal Resources offers the most comprehensive conferences to help prepare you for your exams. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start preparing.