Study: 30% of Patients Leave Doctor's Office After Long Waits

A recent study by Vitals showed that up to 30% of people end up leaving without seeing their physician because the wait is too long.
Each patient who leaves due to frustration could be a missed opportunity for revenue for the doctor’s office. In fact, 1 in 5 patients reported changing their doctor because of how long they had to wait. It’s more important than ever to identify opportunities for improving patient experience — from the moment they arrive at your office.
Some other interesting findings from the study include:

  • In all areas of healthcare, the average wait time is 18 minutes and 13 seconds. Milwaukee was found to have the most consistently short wait time, while El Paso has the longest.
  • Other cities with short wait times as of 2018 include Seattle, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Portland. States being New Hampshire, Washington, Maine and Minnesota.
  • Other cities with long wait times as of 2018 include Memphis, Miami, Las Vegas and Fort Worth. States being Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana and Nevada.

Providing Optimal Customer Service

Healthcare providers do not always think of their patient’s as their “customers,” but in reality, they are. Their experience of the care provided can make or break the success of your private practice. Certainly, you should be putting a great deal of focus on the quality of care provided and giving each patient the amount of time necessary to treat them properly.
Yet, given this information, the way that patient time is managed should always be weighed with similar importance. Improvements to your office efficiency can help to ensure that you are not losing your client base in the process.
In order to ensure your patient’s that you are keeping that your goal is to provide them with optimal service, your practice’s staff should make be focused on:

  • Always being friendly.
  • Treating every individual the same.
  • Giving detailed responses to all questions asked.
  • Being empathetic toward each individual situation.
  • Providing a nice atmosphere.
  • Choosing systems that are up to date and practical.
  • Carrying out their role swiftly and efficiently, making sure that the process isn’t rushed, but that time is managed efficiently.

The survey also explored the activities that people engage in while they wait in order to keep them entertained:

  • 44% of people browse the internet on their phones, play games, or text their friends.
  • 55% of people look at the magazines provided in the waiting rooms.

Remember to consider your patients’ interests when building the atmosphere in your office.

Take a Look At Your Process

Does your office suffer from long wait times? The answer may lie in the processes you and your staff have in place. Perhaps there are areas where you can add automation. Are you utilizing technology to its full potential?
For example, some practices are moving to a text-based system for notifying patients that they are soon to be next in line. Others collect all of the patient information up front before the patient even arrives at the office. In other words, some simple process improvements could help alleviate the issue.
*P.S. PMB has developed a brand new No Waiting Room offering. Click here to read more about how it could improve your office’s patient experience.

In Conclusion

It is always a good idea to take a look at your industry and see how your business is doing in comparison. Do right by your practice, your clients, and your staff by continuing to look for ways you can improve. When you put in the effort and care of acknowledging your patient’s situation, they will appreciate it and continue to return.
By the way, if you do need some consultation support to improve your office operations, we do that! Contact PMB today to speak with a medical administration and billing expert.