How to Boost Patient Revenues & Satisfaction By Reducing Wait Times
Did you know that patient wait times play a critical role in how well a medical practice performs? In fact, reducing wait times is one of the best ways to ensure your patient population is satisfied and willing to return for future care. If managed properly, this one factor can increase the quality of patient-care, improve overall patient experiences and maximize reimbursements.
Logically, when patients are made to wait too long, they are much more likely to leave and find a new care provider. This shows how important it is for medical practices to reduce the time patients spend waiting for appointments, waiting in the reception area, and waiting in the exam room.
Thankfully, there are many ways for medical practices to take control and reduce patient wait times. Read on below to learn about some great ways to do so:
Review Your Operations & Identify Bottlenecks
Sometimes it can be hard for practices to identify exactly why patient wait times are high. In this scenario, it is a good idea to break down operations and find the bottlenecks slowing down the flow. Take a look at all aspects of operations and see if there is room for improvement in any specific area.
Is there a specific portion of the patient experience that has the longest wait? These days, there are so many ways to improve efficiencies within a medical practice. Taking a look at the biggest problem areas is a great way to start improving wait times.
Collect Patient Information Early
When looking to reduce patient wait times, it is a great idea to look at the patient information collection process. In general, it is best to collect and sort through patient paperwork and information before the appointment time.
Create a process in which insurance information and patient history are collected when appointments are scheduled. Have staff complete the benefits-eligibility verification process and authorizations before patients come in for their visit. Reducing the amount of “overbookings” can also reduce the chances that staff will have to rush to verify new patients and keep current patients waiting.
By taking the above steps, patients are more likely to check-in quickly, confirm their information, and receive the care they need.
Provide Clear Policies for No Shows & Late Arrivals
Establishing clear policies for no shows & late arrivals is a great way to show patients that their time is valued. For late arrivals, set a time limit after which appointments will need to be rescheduled. For patients that are consistently late, consider implementing a late fee to encourage them to arrive on time. Give patients free passes as appropriate and make sure these policies are clearly communicated to your patient population through a variety of channels.
Be Honest When Wait Times Rise
Even the best medical practices will experience long wait times on occasion. When this happens, its a good idea to be open and transparent with patients that will have to wait longer than expected. Office managers can be trained to keep their pulse on how long patients are waiting, keep them updated when new delays arise and apologize for any inconveniences.
A great way to keep these patients happy is to optimize their waiting room experience. Provide high-speed wifi, comfortable chairs, and comforting lighting. You could even offer complimentary tea or coffee, along with tv for entertainment. Calming background music can also help reduce anxiety and create a calm, relaxing environment.
Integrate Telemedicine Options
Telemedicine is a great way to help patients save time and energy when trying to obtain care. Patients are more likely to show up for care and keep their appointments when there are fewer obstacles in their way (driving, taking time off work, etc.).
By providing access to care virtually, patients can experience a better care model depending on their condition and type of treatment needed. This technology can also speed up patient information collection, reduce late arrivals and no-shows, and reduce the average office visit time.
These are just a few ways to reduce patient wait times and keep your patient population happy. To learn more about how Billing Savi can help your practice run more efficiently, please contact us by using the form below for a free consultation.