Even when you are running behind schedule, the waiting room experience for your patients doesn’t have to be boring and unproductive.
A typical patient’s visit to your office might look like this: 20 minutes of “wait time” and about 10 minutes of actual one-on-one time with you as their provider. Although this may be a confirmed statistic, that doesn’t have to translate into inadequate patient care. Due to consistent innovations in technology, you now have the ability to provide patient care even before sitting down face-to-face with them.
With the multitude of advances in technology, including the ability for you to connect with your patients through mobile devices, there is little excuse for failing to keep your patients engaged with your practice and their health, both in between their regular care appointments as well as during their scheduled visit (including during their “wait time”.) All you need do is to make sure you are utilizing the tools available to do so.
How up-to-date is your office?
Research shows that 1 in 5 patients use their mobile devices to research information related to the reason for their visit, while waiting to see their provider. And of those patients, 82% felt better prepared and had a better understanding of their condition before meeting with their provider which in turn could lead to a heightened awareness and better attention to their health after they leave your office.
How then can you engage your patients while they wait?
Today, practices are implementing the use of Tablets during their check-in process which, provides a powerful method for collecting and providing critical information for their patients. Refusing to be intimidated by technology and instead embracing its capabilities can result in benefits that will transform your practice and turn even long wait times into productive, positive experiences for your patients.
What are some of the features and benefits that are available to patient and provider with the use of a “waiting room” tablet?
- Patient Portals promote a higher level office efficiency.
But encouraging patients to sign-up for your portal often proves challenging. By implementing the use of tablets in your waiting room, your patients can be reminded to sign-up while they wait, dramatically improving the likelihood that they will make use of the portal when they are outside of your practice. They can also use the tablet to enter their personal health history, insurance information, family and emergency contact information, etc., which means you don’t have to.
- On-site surveys increase patient satisfaction.
If your patient feels valued because you realize the importance of receiving and taking to heart feedback regarding their experience through patient surveys, he/she will likely trust you more and become a more loyal patient, more engaged in their health, and more inspired to share their positive experience with others.
- Patient Education improves health outcomes. By utilizing newsletters and targeted care campaigns to educate your patient, you empower them with knowledge on how to engage in a healthier lifestyle and inspire them to keep their long term health top of mind.
- Patient reviews increase SEO.
With the ability to leave reviews right from their waiting chair, even if it’s simply about their “waiting room” experience or their interactions with your office staff, while it’s fresh on their mind, you can dramatically increase your visibility as you drive traffic to your website. In addition, you will improve your online reputation which will generate new patients who are online actively searching for a new provider.
- An active social media presence generates new referrals and makes it easy to schedule appointments. When you use a waiting room table to encourage patients to ‘like’ your Facebook page or schedule an appointment, your online presence will improve and your schedule will become consistently fuller.
All of these tools improve your patient’s overall experience, which typically translates into referrals and a growing practice. Happy and satisfied patients share the value they feel as your patient with others because you took the time to connect in ways that are meaningful, effective, and much more personal.
Some practices have a difficult time embracing technology and all it has to offer as it can seem intimidating and less personal, however, those that recognize that if you aren’t keeping up with the way your patients are connecting every day, they will likely find a provider that will. These are the practices that will experience long term success and loyal lifetime patients. Result? A healthy, thriving practice.
Unproductive waiting rooms are a thing of the past.