Strategies to Improve Patient Flow in an Urgent Care Facility
Urgent care facilities are often tasked with the challenge of streamlining patient flow. In a high-volume business that can see hundreds of patients in a single day, ensuring that everyone is seen and treated in a timely manner can help improve your practice’s efficiency and profitability significantly.
If you are struggling to manage the patient flow at your own urgent care, we are going to outline some key strategies that you can put into practice. By following these tips, you can help to improve patient satisfaction while also increasing your bottom line results.
Offer Telehealth in Addition to In-Person Visits
One of the best ways to improve patient flow in your urgent care facility is by offering telehealth as an alternative to in-person visits. This allows patients who may not need to be seen in-person the option to consult with a doctor or nurse via video chat, which can free up time and resources for those who do need to come in for an in-person visit.
An effective way to implement telehealth is to integrate your telehealth platform with an online check-in tool which can automatically text or email your link to your patient at the time of their virtual visit.
In addition, telehealth can be a great option for patients who live far away from your urgent care facility or who have transportation issues. By offering this service, you can make it easier for everyone to get the care they need without having to visit the office. This also creates more available treatment rooms in your facility for those that do travel for a visit in person.
Digitize Registration and Consent Forms
Another way to help improve patient flow is by digitizing your registration and consent forms. Digital paperwork can speed up the check-in process for patients since they will no longer need to fill out paper forms when they arrive for their visit. Instead, they can complete these necessary documents from their mobile device or computer in advance.
You can also use an electronic medical records (EMR) system to keep track of patient information and medical histories. This can help you to quickly and easily retrieve a patient’s file when they come in for a visit, which can also save time during the check-in process.
The digital platform that you implement at your urgent care should also allow visitors to upload their license and insurance info through a secure, HIPAA-compliant interface. Improving digital patient engagement will help streamline the check-in process and provide your staff with the necessary information they need while also reducing wait times for patients.
Provide Transparency About Urgent Care Wait Times
Another key strategy for improving patient flow is to provide transparency about your urgent care wait times. By posting your current wait times in a virtual waiting room, patients can make an informed decision about whether they need to be seen right away or if they can schedule a time slot for later.
This information can also help you to better staff your urgent care facility. For example, if you see that wait times are consistently long during certain hours of the day, you may want to consider scheduling more personnel during those times. With a more stabilized capacity at peak points during the week, more patients can be seen and treated simultaneously.
Allow Patients to Get in Line Remotely
In addition to providing transparency about your urgent care wait times, you can also allow patients to “get in line” remotely. By using a virtual queuing system, patients can hold their place in line from the comfort of their own home or office. Then, when it’s their time, they can simply walk in and be seen by a medical professional without needing to spend time in the waiting room beforehand.
Engage with Patients Through SMS and Text Messaging
SMS and text messaging enable patients to interact with your urgent care prior to their scheduled time slot. Instead of calling or visiting in person early in order to ask questions about their scheduled time, they can send a quick text from their mobile device.
Be Transparent with Setting Expectations
The last strategy for improving patient flow that we’ll discuss is being transparent with setting expectations. When a patient calls or visits your urgent care facility, be upfront about what they can expect during their visit. This includes letting them know how long they will likely need to wait to be seen, what type of treatment they will receive, and how much it will cost.
By providing this information upfront, patients can make an informed decision about whether they need to be seen right away or if they can wait for a later time slot. This can help to reduce the number of no-shows and last-minute cancellations, which can free up time slots for other patients who may need to be seen sooner.
Improve Patient Flow with ER Express
At ER Express, we equip urgent care centers with the most complete suite of innovative software solutions in a HIPAA-compliant, white label fashion. If you desire to improve your patient flow at your own facility, request a demo today.