It’s been said that we suffer from a “perennial time-scarcity problem.” We’re busy at work. We’re busy at home. And among working parents – who have to care for their own health and the wellness of their children, time poverty presents a real threat to health and wellbeing. It’s no surprise that consumers are demanding products and services faster. And across most segments, organizations are trying to keep up with this ever-increasing pace.
For healthcare providers, the speed and service balancing act is overshadowed by the demand for good care. But patients may perceive a lower quality of care if they have had to wait for it, or if they felt confusion at any point in their appointment process. It’s a dilemma.
Let’s face it. Many patients have trouble being patient – for good reason. We have a precedent of near-instant gratification in the form of instant messaging, snap chats and videos, and even same-day delivery of dry cleaning, food, and parcels. We have strayed far from the notion of “patience is a virtue.” So when a patient arrives for a clinic appointment, waiting in a room with others – primarily if they don’t know how long it’ll take to be seen or who is ‘in front’ of them in the queue is an immediate and major source of frustration that can impact the entire care experience.
Fortunately, patient journey technology solutions like self-check in kiosks and digital signage that direct patients to the right service point can help to create a positive clinical experience even before a patient enters the reception area or examination room. If you’ve ever seen patients when they’re illness-impaired or in the emergency room late at night, you know they can be tired, stressed, and even disoriented. That’s where wayfinding technology can be useful, serving as your patient’s personal GPS to help them find their way to urgent care in urgent time.
Once in the reception area, simply removing the question about which patient is next can help to alleviate stress. This is particularly important in cases where the patient arrives feeling anxious about their appointment. Innovative “off-site waiting” technologies like mobile and SMS alerts can even help patients optimize their waiting time by allowing them to move around and do things while they wait to be called. And if they are spending their time in a waiting area, offering engaging, health-related programming via screens throughout the environment can reduce perceived wait time by keeping them entertained and educated.
By enabling patients to use their time productively and to enter the exam room informed, you are improving the perception of speed, providing great service, and offering excellent care from the moment the patient arrives. In this competitive environment, a well-planned patient experience can make or break a physician’s office. A positive experience can mean a relationship that lasts a lifetime. A negative one can diffuse the experience and result in it being the last time you see that patient.
Invest in the patient experience technology that matches your personal investment their hands-on care. Help patients meet their goals – faster, clearer healthcare they can trust. We can help you get started.
Read more about how digitization of the patient journey reduces wait times and impove the patient experience.