As physicians operating small to medium-sized medical practices we are small business owners. As a result we need to think like small business owners. We need to discover ways to attract new patients and retain the patients that we do have. The best way to do this is to increase patient satisfaction. However when you discuss the patient satisfaction with his or her doctor one of the biggest complaints. Is the waiting. Doctors are notorious for running behind schedule. Often patients do not understand the time and money constraints of running in office. Therefore this prolonged waiting time make them feel as if the value just as if the physician does not value their time. So how can you improve the efficiency of your medical practice to decrease the waiting time.?
First you evaluate the current efficiency of your office.
To start get the opinions of those involved. Ask patients questions related to their waiting time. Did they wait mostly be called in by the nurse. Did they wait mostly in the exam room for the doctor? Or was there some other delay?Ask them for their opinion of ways to improve efficiency in your office.
Assess the situation on your own.
Now that you have your patient experience waiting in your office determined where the actual delayed. This can be done by having a 1 to 2 week investigation. During this time have each patient take a card that is time stamped at each area of the office. Have them stamp it when they first come into the office when they’re called up by the receptionist when they’re taken back by the nurse when they’re seen by the doctor and when they leave.
You may be able to collect this information with your computer system. Any computer systems allow you to check the patient in change the status to ready for the nurse ready for the doctor and then discharge you can then review the computer timestamp to see where the delay.
Find a solution
Now that you know where the major delays are you can work on solutions to fix them. For example if the major delay in the checking process perhaps some of this checking process could take place before the patient comes to your office. Nor practice management software could e-mail the patient with appointment reminders ask for insurance and ask for verification of information. If the delay is with the nurses isn’t a matter of not enough nursing staff or perhaps not enough physical room for the nurses to work with each patient.
Finally if the delay is with the doctors discussed ways to lessen this time. Perhaps changing the way this book appointments to cluster certain appointments and allow for free time for the doctors to finish notes make telephone calls etc. perhaps your electronic medical record and free populate much of the doctors note so here she not spend time writing notes.
Implement the changes and follow-up on your progress.
Next pick one to suggestion from each of the areas the receptionist your nursing staff and the doctors decide to implement this process immediately finally assess how well you were doing look at the effect on the time delay hasn’t improved? Again survey your patience and ask them about their experience are they more satisfied with less waiting time? In the end and improved efficiency will allow you to see more patients in less time with more satisfaction on everybody’s part.
How is the efficiency in your office? What techniques do you use to improve deficient do you rely more on technology for systems to help your office run more efficiently? Let us know by commenting and sharing below.
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