Point-of-Care Perspectives from PatientPoint

Three Missed Opportunities in the Waiting Room

by PatientPoint

Studies have shown that the actual wait time is not as important to people as the perception of their wait. The time your patients spend in the waiting room is arguably one of the most effective ways to inspire patient action and influence patient satisfaction. With the rise of doctor rating sites and a more competitive healthcare environment, it’s essential to offer your patients the best experience possible the minute they walk through your door.

Here are 3 simple strategies you can implement to enhance the waiting room experience and boost your patients’ perception of care.

1. Turn Wait Time Into Action

59% of patients said they wished their provider had given more educational materials on their condition/symptoms. Use this influential time to communicate with your patients when they are actively thinking about their eye care and health. Feature educational content on conditions or services your practice specializes in and motivate patients to talk to their doctor about your preferred treatment and services through messages you’ve shared in the waiting room.

You can direct them towards high-quality patient education materials of your own, either on your website or social media pages or on a TV or tablet in your waiting room. Online platforms make this possible and scalable. Patients can watch patient education videos in the waiting room, then go home and share them with their family members on their phones or computer after the appointment.

With a little creativity, you can make your waiting room a comfortable and productive space for your patients. And if your patient’s first impression of your practice is a good one, they’re sure to spread the word. Find out more about how you can use online resources to make your waiting room and your business patient-friendly.

2. Use Data to Actively Alleviate Patient Anxiety

Although most patients consider their doctor a trusted source of health information, that sense of connection doesn’t alleviate the fear of going to the doctor’s office. Patients reported feeling anxious (39%), stressed (31%), and even afraid (26%) before going to their appointment.1

Provide patients with easy access to educational materials they won’t throw away. Try swapping out HGTV for simple explainer videos that can help better prepare patients to speak with their doctor. Or, get more specific by creating scannable QR codes that direct patients to simplified explainer content by condition.

3. Create a Welcoming Environment

If their time was spent doing something pleasant, patients are less likely to notice—let alone complain about—the wait. Brewing a cup of coffee or tea takes several minutes and can increase patients’ overall perception of value. Providing complimentary snacks or beverages is a simple way to guarantee a great first impression.

Providing a comfortable environment for patients is another great way to enhance patient wait time. When selecting furniture, keep in mind that what’s comfortable for some patients may not be for others. Older patients may have difficulty getting up off a couch, for example. Chairs with two sturdy arms may provide more support.

1. Inside the Mind of Today’s Patient. PatientPoint. March 2023.

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