6 Best Practices to Improve Patient Wait Time in Your Healthcare Facility

patient wait time

For many patients, the most frustrating part of seeing their doctors are the long waits after they arrive for their appointments. Studies show that extended patient wait time is a leading factor in low patient satisfaction scores, and many patients would consider leaving their doctor for one with shorter waits. 

PracticeForces’ medical billing and coding services help medical practices streamline operations, improve patient satisfaction, and deliver quality care. Check out our advice for reducing patient wait times.

1. Reduce Patient Check-In Delays 

Making it easy for patients to complete paperwork and provide insurance information before their appointment time streamlines check-in and reduces delays when they arrive. Save time by collecting pertinent information when they make an appointment, providing a secure patient portal they can access for registration, or sending forms electronically before the visit. Patients will be ready to see the doctor as soon as they arrive.

2. Enforce No-Show and Late Arrival Policies

Patients arriving late for appointments can throw off the doctor’s schedule for the day. Enforcing policies regarding late arrivals and no-shows — which might include appointment cancellation and fees — can reduce these bottlenecks. 

3. Implement a Mobile Queue

Offering patients the option to check in for their appointment using a mobile queue can improve the patient experience by estimating their wait time and alerting them when it’s their turn. Communication can reduce frustration with patient wait times, especially when patients know they have time to grab a cup of coffee or take a walk before their visit instead of sitting in the waiting room. 

4. Offer Virtual Care 

Many healthcare facilities implemented virtual health services like telehealth during the pandemic. The option for virtual or remote visits for routine care or follow-ups can streamline medical practice by shortening appointment length, streamlining documentation, and reducing no-shows and late arrivals. Using telehealth means virtually eliminating patient wait time without compromising the quality of care. 

5. Improve Clinical Workflow

Identifying bottlenecks in your practice’s clinical workflow and making changes can significantly improve patient wait times. For example, delegating documentation tasks to trained staff members can free up provider time and get patients into exam rooms more quickly. Gather team input on how you can streamline internal processes and improve communication to prevent backups and enhance the patient experience. 

6. Make Waiting More Pleasant 

While on-time appointments are a priority, it may be impossible to eliminate all patient waits. You can reduce frustration and improve the patient experience by making the waiting room pleasant. Provide patients with secure Wi-fi, comfortable seating, and up-to-date reading and educational materials to make the time pass quicker.

Prioritizing patient satisfaction is critical to maintaining patient volume in your medical practice. Losing patients due to long wait times will negatively impact the bottom line and your reputation. When you reduce patient wait times and improve the patient experience, you build stronger doctor-patient relationships, increase revenue, and reduce costs. 

Get help streamlining your practice operations with contract management, billing, IT management, and more from PracticeForces. Call us at (727) 499-0351 to learn how to increase revenue and patient satisfaction. 

Parul Garg, CEO and co-founder of PracticeForces, has significantly contributed to the growth of over 1,000 U.S. medical practices through her expertise in medical billing and coding since the company’s inception in 2003. With a background in Computer Science and an MBA in Human Resources, her leadership and AAPC-certified coding skills have been pivotal in managing the company’s operations effectively.

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