Three ways to ease tension about long wait times

If you want to ease patient angst for long waits at your practice, try these tips:

1. Post signs. Some practices post signs that urge patients to approach the reception desk if they wait more than 15 minutes.

2. Keep patients’ expectations reasonable. You can shape the patient’s attitude about waiting by posting an appropriately worded statement in a patient brochure, on your Web site, and in the reception area. This helps to diffuse some of the stress caused by the wait. It also shows that you are aware of the problem, respect the patient, and recognize that the patient’s time is valuable.

3. Apologize. Apologies can go a long way when done sincerely. When apologizing, establish eye contact, explain why appointments are running late, and give the patient the kind of attention and respect that you would expect in a similar situation.

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