Keep Patient Wait Times Short

According to the American Medical Association, patients spend an average of 19 minutes waiting for their appointments. This may not be surprising to you, but it can seem like a lot considering patients often spend less time seeing their doctor.

A common area for bottlenecks is registration. If referral or insurance information is missing, the entire registration process stops. If you’re busy taking care of one patient, the others have to wait, and the patient’s perception of delay will increase.

Be sure to call patients before their visits to confirm their address, insurance and other information. Remind them of their appointment time. Make sure they have their referral paperwork or offer to track it down if they don’t.

Track each patient’s wait time by making a note of when she arrives and when she is seen. If the wait time is roughly the same for all patients, that’s good. But if you notice that one physician gets chronically backed up, bring that to your supervisor’s attention. Perhaps the doctor’s scheduling needs to be adjusted, or the way he manages patient time can be improved.

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