Today, with everyone seemingly always on the move, waiting for several minutes can be quite the inconvenience. Especially if you are having to wait and are not feeling well, it can seem like an absolute eternity. In fact, in a survey by the design and development firm Sequence, 63% of patients say that waiting is the most stressful part of their visit to the doctor. With that being said, wait times are inevitable. But there are some things you can do to help minimize the inconvenience. 

1.  Inform patients if a wait is to be expected.

In the aforementioned survey, more than half of patients expressed that it would be nice to be notified of waiting times, whether it be by text message or an electronic display in the office. Be courteous of your patients’ time. You never know what may be going on in their life, so it might be unreasonable to expect them to wait for an hour or more. 

2.  Utilize the convenience of the web.

Per Sequence
, 88% of doctors’ offices still schedule appointments via telephone. Operating this way takes up human resources that could be better spent taking care of patient matters onsite. Consider utilizing a web-based technology that will allow future patients to schedule their appointments online. The software can then be responsible for reminding them of their appointments. In addition, they can utilize the software to cancel or reschedule appointments. Sure, you will still have to schedule some appointments over the phone, but this solution should allow for your employees to spend less time on the phone and more time on ensuring the office is running smoothly.

3.  Encourage patients to fill out forms before they arrive.

If a patient is visiting your office for the first time, it is very likely that he/she will have a lot of paperwork to complete. It is common for visitors to be informed that they should arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time to process this paperwork, but consider sending these forms prior to their visit for completion. And if you utilize an online scheduling tool as mentioned above, it might be possible to collect some of the information at that time.

4.  Provide a comfortable experience.

Let’s be honest – delays are going to happen. It is simply too idealistic to expect everything to run smoothly 100% of the time. So, if you can’t ensure that your patients will always be seen in a timely manner, you can at least provide a comfortable experience while they wait. Simple amenities can go a long way toward decreasing the perceived wait time. Check out our tips for using the five senses to create a welcoming atmosphere for your visitors. 

These tips are simple suggestions that can be used in almost any waiting room. If you want to know how you can improve specifically your guests’ experiences, you need to gather customer feedback. One of the simplest methods for gathering feedback is the Net Promoter Score. In addition, you can offer a more extensive survey for your patients to complete. It can be digital, printed, or both. Encourage your visitors to fill it out by leaving it in common areas and/or with your receptionists, so that you can be on the way to earning five star reviews in no time.