Patient wait times are a common concern for many decision-makers in urgent care and emergency departments. This can both cause frustration for patients as well as delays in treatment.
You hold your organization to a high standard for providing excellent care and striving to continuously improve the patient experience. One of the simplest ways to achieve these goals is to leverage proven strategies and tools to cut down time in the waiting room.
Here are some ways you can reduce patient wait times at your urgent care or emergency department:
Allow More Touchpoints for Pre-Visit Communication
Some people who are considering visiting your urgent care or emergency department may have some questions that they would want to be answered before deciding to travel to your location. For example, they may have a cut on their arm and want to know whether they should receive a tetanus shot.
If your urgent care or emergency department allows for questions to be submitted online, through SMS or text, or through direct messaging, this can help patients stay in the loop after checking in to their appointment. This can prove especially helpful for patients that may have difficulties with mobility and may not want to move from their car or home until they need to come in to be seen.
Provide a Transparent View of Current Wait Times
Patients should have a good idea of how long they can expect to be waiting for care before they even arrive at your facility. You can do this by posting current wait times in a highly visible location on your website, a mobile app, or using an online check-in system that allows patients to see estimated wait times for specific services.
This transparency can help set accurate patient expectations and allow them to better plan their visit. In addition, it can help reduce the number of patients who arrive without an appointment only to find out that the wait time is too long for their liking.
Use a Digital Queuing System
A digital queuing system can help you keep track of patients who are waiting for care as well as alert them when it is their turn to be seen. This type of system can be used in conjunction with the one above to help provide an even more accurate estimate of wait times.
Patients can check in electronically and then receive a text or email notification when it is their turn to be seen. This way, they can continue with their day and only come back to your facility when they are close to the top of the list.
This type of system can also help you track no-shows so that you can make changes to your appointment scheduling as needed. If someone does not arrive at their expected time, you can move the next patient ahead in the queue so that they can receive service.
Remove the Need for Physical Paperwork
One of the biggest delays in care occurs when patients have to fill out physical paperwork upon arrival. This can be a time-consuming process, especially if the forms are long and complex.
You can reduce patient wait times by transitioning to an digital registration system that allows patients to fill out their information online before they even arrive at your office. This way, all of their information is already entered into the system and they can be seen as soon as possible.
Improve the Patient Experience with a Virtual Queuing System
As you continue to expand your digital capabilities, having an integrated system allows for more scalable operations with greater efficiency and a better patient experience. At ER Express, we offer innovative virtual queuing solutions to help streamline your workflow so that you can spend more time seeing more patients.
To learn more about our virtual waiting, digital patient registration, online check-in, and patient queueing solutions for your urgent care or emergency department, contact us today to request a demo.