In urgent care settings, every minute counts—especially in the waiting room.
In order to help patients quickly access the care they need, efficient check-in and waiting room procedures are essential.
One of the most productive ways to optimize your waiting room workflow is to adopt a virtual wait list system.
How a Virtual Waiting List System Benefits Clinical Workflow at Urgent Cares
A virtual waiting room is a health care service that allows a patient to check in to a facility’s waiting list via their mobile device. The patient then receives a text message when it’s their turn to be seen.
A virtual waitlist system helps patients move through check-in and waiting more quickly and efficiently while freeing up space in the physical waiting room. For staff, less time is spent on check-ins, phone calls, and paperwork.
Here are the key benefits enjoyed by urgent care teams that implement virtual waitlist systems.
Streamline Communication with Patients
Virtual waiting rooms simplify and automate the process of checking in and waiting for an appointment. Patients stay informed on their waiting status via these tools:
- Automatic SMS notifications
- One-way or two-way texting with reception staff
- Mobile browser updates
For urgent care staff, it’s easy to keep virtual waiting room patients informed.
The process is mostly automated, with direct texting or phone calls employed as needed. When patients are automatically notified of their waiting list status, reception staff spends less time answering phone calls, walking through the parking lot to find patients, or responding to status update requests at the front desk.
Manage Patient Expectations
Extended waits are frustrating for urgent care patients, especially when initial wait time estimates are exceeded.
A virtual waiting list system reduces waiting room guesswork by providing patients with an automated estimate of the time at which their appointment will begin.
First, patients can “get in line” remotely via their mobile devices. After checking in to the digital queue patients, can continue to monitor their status and receive periodic updates.
The wait time information generated for patients is automated and completely objective. This helps urgent care staff to set realistic expectations and reduce the potential frustration and conflict that can occur during long waits.
When lengthy wait times are projected, patients are free to wait in their cars, take a walk, or visit a nearby coffee shop. Thanks to consistent updates, they can easily monitor their place in line in order to manage their wait comfortably and efficiently.
Meanwhile, urgent care staff can make real-time adjustments to the facility’s posted availability. In response to the ebb and flow of the daily workload, staff can flexibly block off or open up time slots.
Automate Data Collection for More Accurate Treatment Times
Many urgent care teams would like to reduce patient wait care times. However, without automated wait time data collection, it’s difficult to know where to begin. To work on improving wait times, you first need a useful set of estimates regarding your current wait times.
Without the use of modern tools like online check-ins and virtual waiting rooms, generating average wait time estimates requires manual data entry. Manually-collected data is useful but lacks specificity.
With the help of a virtual waiting room, data collection occurs automatically.
Digitally produced data also delivers superior detail. For example, you may wish to sort wait time data by day of the week. This automated and nuanced data can be used to improve your understanding of wait times, helping your team to optimize staff scheduling and improve communications with patients.
You can also use your waiting room data to set the average turnaround time for reception desk tasks and to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements.
Adopting a Virtual Waiting System at Your Urgent Care
To implement a virtual waiting system for your urgent care, reach out to ER Express. We develop innovative and holistic management software systems for urgent care, emergency departments, and veterinary practices.
Modernizing your waiting room experiences results in happier patients and staff, reduced human error, and an optimized clinical workflow.
With ER Express Walk-In Express software, you can:
- Manage patient expectations
- Provide hygienic low-contact check-ins
- Digitize your patient queue and optimize patient throughput
- Reduce staff workload via digital self-check-ins
To learn more, schedule a demo with our team today.