My experience has shown that hospitals face many challenges that emerge as long waiting times and poor patient experiences. In this article, I'll clarify why I believe investing in a patient appointment system is beneficial for both patients and staff members.
Overcoming the challenges of long waiting lines
The most common challenge for hospitals, their managers, and employees is to reduce operational costs and reach efficiency targets. Meanwhile, most hospitals operate with limited resources.
Their quest to streamline the organization has traditionally prevented patients from moving comfortably throughout their visits and re-visits. Instead, patients are often placed in long waiting lines while receiving minimal information throughout their stay.
A minor measure to overcome this problem is to invest in an appointment system. During the years, I’ve seen numerous improvements among hospitals that allow the patient to book appointments in advance. Below, I have summarized the main benefits of patient appointment systems in hospitals.
Why hospitals should consider investing in a patient appointment system
Safer patient journeys
Given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, an appointment system allows to spread out patient visits throughout the day to maintain social distancing and avoid crowding.
With an appointment scheduling solution with self check-in and mobile tickets, patients can even check themselves in upon arrival, without any interaction with staff or physical ticket kiosks. You can read more about safe patient journeys here.
Reduced wait time
When many patients arrive at the same time, for a drop-in consultation, there is a risk of crowding, which contributes to long wait times.
With an appointment system, the non-urgent patients can schedule their consultation in advance. As this eliminates wait times upon arrival, it has a significant impact on the patient experience.
The patient can better plan their day
Long wait times and minimal information are a burden among many patients. Not knowing when to be served is a stressful factor that harms the patient's experience.
With an appointment system, the patient can better plan their day as it eliminates the uncertainty of waiting times.
Happier working environment
Limited resources and requirements to meet efficiency targets result in a stressful work environment. Avoiding stress and balancing the workload among staff members is a challenge for many hospitals.
With an appointment system, the hospital can control and steer the flow of patients away from peak hours to less busy parts of the day. By distributing the workload, you can reduce anxiety among staff and create opportunities to serve more patients per day.
Reduce outpatient cancellations
With manual booking routines, many hospitals have a problem with patients not showing up for an appointment.
With an appointment system, the hospital can automatically send confirmations and reminders to patients, which makes them more likely to show up.
Reduce the time needed for administrative tasks
A manual appointment routine is a very time-consuming task for hospitals.
With an appointment system, hospitals can offer patients the ability to book online or in an app. Most of the appointment handling is automated, which reduces time from the staff, allowing them to work on other tasks within the clinic.
What you need to know about patient appointment systems
To summarize, an appointment system helps you manage appointments and seamlessly check-in patients to see consultants on arrival. Therefore, staff can focus on meeting and supporting patients to deliver a better all-round experience.
Perhaps you would like to demonstrate and describe the benefits of patient appointment systems for your colleagues. To help you, we have compiled a presentation with more information on what a patient appointment system is and how it can improve the organization.
This post has been complemented with new relevant information due to the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccination programs, and was originally posted on 2/19/2020.