4 ways to Improve Your Patient Experience in the Waiting Room

Ever wonder why you call your clients “patients”? Turns out, the etymology of the word stems from a Latin word that means “enduring, or suffering, without complaint”. And this quiet suffering is exactly what most patients experience during their doctors’ visits. Well, sometimes they complain.

Having seen the waiting room wait from both sides of the check-in window, it is no surprise that 97% of patients are frustrated by wait times. Whether they vocalize their annoyance or not, patients begin to get impatient when their appointment time passes, or they are seen by the technician for basic history and then told to wait in the waiting room again. Health care visits simply should not induce frustration, and should not match the Latin word for suffering. So here are four ways you can improve client satisfaction by reducing and easing their wait time:

Provide educational material in the waiting room

Whether waiting for a consultation, follow-up or routine check, patients like to feel informed. Information on what types of services you provide, what they can expect from various procedures, or how to care for themselves following a procedure, simultaneously educates your patients and keeps them occupied during their wait. Additionally, it will allow their time with you to be more focused on specifics, and not spend quality time on general education.

Provide water/coffee or snacks

Even your hairstylist offers at least water while you wait for a haircut. Why should a medical facility be any different? Drinks or small snacks make the waiting room experience feel more social and less stressful. Your clients will appreciate this simple and inexpensive perk.

Keep patients connected

Providing free Wi-Fi and making sure there are plenty of outlets in the waiting room allows patients to stay connected and feel as though their time is not being wasted. Whether they use the time to go through emails, check-in at work, or just browse the internet, patients will certainly find a way to utilize their down time in the office with their mobile devices.

Eliminate repeat waiting room waits

Instead of shuffling patients between exam rooms, photo rooms and the waiting room, limit their waiting room experience to once per appointment. Most exam rooms can be set up to do all the things you need in each visit. Have clinicians, photographers, and doctors move from room to room instead of patients.

Although waiting rooms are an inevitable part of health care services, a few simple changes can make the patient wait easier and shorter. Keep your clients happy and willing to return to you for future services and health care needs.

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Emily Alten
Writing enthusiast and biology nerd, Emily specializes in educational healthcare and medicine content. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Columbia University with a degree in biological sciences/pre-medical studies.

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