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Reducing Clinic Wait Time

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Have you ever gone into a clinic and had to wait so long that you went up to the front desk to ask when you would be called in? Even if you haven't, I'm sure you had to wait on the phone for quite some time while they scheduled your appointment for you or your child. This is extremely frustrating for many people as they too have busy lives. Between work, school and your family things can get hectic in your life. Scheduling an appointment at the clinic is just one more thing that can add stress. Together, we can help reduce the wait time for patients and find things to do so they can be occupied easier.

There are many times you will have to wait while at the clinic or on the telephone.

Waiting will you are on hold on the phone, waiting for the doctor to return phone calls, waiting to get an appointment with the doctor, waiting in the waiting room, waiting in an exam room and waiting in the area to get x-rays or lab work done are just a few of the things you have to wait for while dealing with the clinic. You also have to spend time with the nurse and doctor and wait to check out as you follow up for a future appointment. These are just a few things that you will have to wait for while in and out of the clinic. People who come to the clinic regularly will have to wait for a lot more things to get done. This puts the total time in the clinic up very high. You are spending a lot of your extra time at the clinic when the time could be cut in half.

There are a few things that you can do while waiting for people who work at the clinic. Whether it is the nurse or doctor it may take a while to get called in and actually seen. While you are on hold on the phone you can listen to the music or advertisement that they usually will play for you. You also have the freewill to walk around the house and clean up or do a few other things. While you are waiting in the waiting room you can bring a book, read a magazine or bring some of your papers from work so you can get your work done. Sometimes clinics will have televisions in them so you can occupy yourself with that until you are called. Many times there will also be fish tanks and toys and puzzles for your children. When you are in the exam room waiting for a doctor there is not much to occupy your time with. It is helpful to you to bring a magazine in the room with you.

It has been researched that more people come to the clinic in the early afternoon. Between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. there is usually a 0-15 minute wait time in the waiting room. This number greatly increases around 11:00 a.m. Between 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. the wait time is anywhere from 15-45 minutes. This tells you that if you want to make the most of your time you should make an appointment earlier in the day. Evening hours also slow down dramatically as well. If you want to avoid the busiest times at the clinic it is not recommended to go between 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Days of the week also play a role in how busy the clinic is. It seems as if Mondays are the busiest times are the week while Fridays are pretty slow.

Most likely it is important to most of us for the staff to have a meeting every two weeks or at least once a month. Working together and brainstorming allows the staff to discover possible reasons for delays in the waiting rooms and possible solutions.

Various things happen as patients start to experience long wait times. Patients may start finding both new clinics and doctors where they are discover they don't have to wait as long. Some patients also feel rushed as they feel they are not spending the time that they need with the doctor. They feel as if the doctor rushes in and out as quickly as he can. Many times patients feel that they have been misdiagnosed because the doctors rush through their exam so quickly. The actual exam that a doctor performs usually lasts no longer than 10 minutes. The average time spent at a clinic is one hour. This leaves about 50 minutes of waiting around. There have also been cases throughout clinics where patients will leave before they have been seen because of such a lunch wait time.

There are several changes that can be done in order to ensure that patients are happy. Appointments can include an extra set of time. For an example, an extra 10 minutes could be added to each appointment. Sometimes, patients do not like to spend much time in the exam room and hardly have any questions. This means that the extra time that was scheduled for them can be used for someone else who does want extra time with the doctor. Also, additional receptionists can be hired to answer more phone calls and they can work as quickly as they can to schedule appointments and speed up phone calls.

This is also a good idea to do when checking out. More receptionists at the front desk can help speed up the time it takes to make a future appointment. It may also be possible for the future that self check outs can be introduced just like in grocery stores. It would be beneficial to have a computer kiosk in the middle of the clinic check in area where you could schedule your own appointments. Taking action in all of these ideas will benefit both the patient and the clinic in general. The patient will be able to go to the clinic without any stress and the clinic will be able to get better business. Most likely the clinic will end up getting great reviews which will result in more patients. Do what you can to not only help improve your local clinics but your community as well.



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