When does “The Patient Experience” start? Part 2
In a recent article, I explored opportunities to impact the patient experience even before the patient arrives at the provider’s office. This experience relates to the first phone call after the referral and the pre-work or preparation that takes place to receive that patient. But what happens next? What happens after your car has been valet parked, and you enter a beautifully decorated waiting room with an incredible AV system and more magazines than you could possibly ever read?
As patients, for the most part, we know that some preparation has taken place. We have sent in forms, we have gathered our records if necessary and when we show up, our records are sitting at the front desk or the receptionist can pull up our chart and confirm our appointment and key information.
The patient then gets handed an additional questionnaire that covers any changes since the last visit or since the latest records were received. This is a great way to capture information and also trigger the patient’s memory for events that are worth mentioning to the doctor since patient’s are sometimes not the best historians.
But what happens next? Much has been written and studied when it comes to the impact that long wait times have on patient satisfaction. A recent study reports that patient satisfaction tanks after a 20-minute doctor wait time. Certainly, this is an area that requires significant attention. It seems that reducing the wait time dramatically improves patient satisfaction and the patient-doctor relationship.