How to Reduce Patient Wait Time

Few things affect patients’ satisfaction; one is long waiting times to see the physician and another one is getting treatment quickly. For a hospital to rank on top, one of the most useful is reducing patients’ wait time. In most hospitals all over the globe, the time to see a doctor is almost 18 to 20 minutes. In the past decade, wait times are significantly reduced in many hospitals. But still, some hospitals need to work on it. Hospital management can employ some ways to lessen wait times for patients.

Go-through medical records before an appointment

All the necessary patient information must be collected by staff beforehand of appointment. It includes insurance information and medical records. On the day of the visit, all this information should be placed in the office for the physician. Moreover, a form can be provided to patients before the appointment, demanding all the necessary information regarding patient health. These steps help improve the services of patients and aids the physician in dealing with the patients appropriately in a short time. The paperwork may seem time-consuming, but it is very beneficial and improves healthcare services provided by hospital staff.

Trained staff for documentation

Documentation is time-consuming but important; therefore, trained staff is required for this task. The staff will collect necessary information like the patient’s medical history, previous prescriptions, test reports, etc. An additional assistant can be added to the team who can even take notes during the patient-doctor meeting. The process may seem complicated and lengthy, but it’s worth it. It will take time to function perfectly. It will greatly improve the health care provided to the patients, in turn increasing patient satisfaction.

Increasing access to doctors

Secure messaging can be thought of as another big thing to manage, but it increases patient satisfaction. It also helps in increasing office efficiency. Secure messaging allows the staff to respond to patient queries quickly. Apart from this, patients are more likely in favor of increased access to doctors.

Creating policies

The hospital can create some policies for smooth functioning. Set a limit for patients who arrive late for the appointments. Tell the late-arriving patients that they will need rescheduling. It keeps the appointments streamlined. This way, the rest of the patients who have appointments next will not wait. Make sure the patients know all the policies. Brochures, phone calls, emails, etc., can help the patients know about the policies. Time is precious, and we should utilize it constructively. It should be made clear to the patients.

Online patient portals

Hospitals can provide a facility of patient portals on their websites that can be accessible 24/7. The patients can create their portals and add all the necessary information regarding their medical records. They can edit the information anytime on the portals. Online portals are becoming popular nowadays. It helps both the patient and staff. There is no need for the staff to take the necessary information from patients. They can access the online portals before the appointments.

Creating more patient care access

Longer wait times result from a greater number of patients but a lesser number of appointments available. This situation can be tackled by increasing patient care access and creating more room for appointments.

Creating awareness among patients

Hospitals can educate the patients so they can triage themselves. Some basic knowledge regarding walk-in clinics, ERs, urgent care clinics must be given to the people. It will help the patients assess their medical condition and pay visits accordingly. It will help in lessening the crowd in emergency departments of hospitals.

Patients go through a difficult time deciding whether they should visit an ER or an urgent care clinic. Such education awareness programs will solve the issue.

Figure out bottlenecks

Sometimes it happens that the schedule is running off course. Surveys can be conducted to figure out the problems. The time patients spend while they visit a doctor can be calculated by hospitals. The survey can be based on questions like how long the visit was. How much time the patient spent till the exit? Such types of surveys can be conducted weekly to pinpoint the issues. It indicates that the management values time. If time is managed properly, there is no chance of long waiting times.

Digital appointment scheduling

The facility of digital appointment scheduling is available in some hospitals. It enables the patients to schedule an appointment on the desired date with their physicians. It aids in resolving the issue of no-shows. So, planning is a key to reducing patient waiting times.

Mobile queue tools

Mobile queue tools are an instant way to reduce patient waiting time. There are several applications for this purpose. The patients can let the staff know if they are running behind. Such applications have the feature of joining a virtual line even before getting into the medical care facility. It will update the person about their position in the line. This way, they can even grab lunch or relax or get a coffee while still waiting. Such applications help in effective patient flow. Besides, continuously updating the people and communicating with them will help them manage their waiting time without getting frustrated.

Telehealth solution

Telehealth solution is a smart step towards a no-time future care model. Telehealth solutions manage the patients’ records collection, avoid late arrivals and no-shows, and save a lot of time. The feature of the virtual treatment is quite convenient. Physicians can access the patients while they are at their homes. It eliminates the traveling time and waiting time while someone visits a doctor.

Comfortable reception area

Hospitals must ensure a comfortable and pleasant reception area. A few things like comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, TV, tea, and coffee for free, magazines, and other reading material like books can make a big difference. Such things keep the patients engaged, so that waiting time passes quickly.


Long waits before reaching your physician is a common problem in healthcare. The ways mentioned above can help reduce the wait times of patients. If hospitals and clinics practice them, it will increase patient satisfaction and improve management.