reduce patient waiting time in a hospital

Seven Ways to Reduce Patient Waiting Time in a Hospital

Nothing frustrates people more than having to wait a long time to see a doctor. This is one of the main reasons patients are dissatisfied. According to a study by Vitals, the average waiting time for a scheduled appointment in the US is 18 minutes.

Those in need of urgent care sometimes have to wait for 49 minutes before treatment starts. Patients find this discouraging, and 20% of them want to find another doctor or medical provider. The best thing a clinic or hospital can do to improve the quality of service and retain patients is to reduce patient waiting time. Here are seven ways to do this.

Way 1: Collect patient data before a consultation

A complaint about waiting at a clinic reception is one of the most common reasons for negative feedback. People would rather not wait for 20 minutes or more. They want to go through a quick registration to visit a specialist.

To reduce patient waiting time in an outpatient clinic, operators collect patient data before a person visits a doctor. Medical institutions are implementing appointment portals so that people can fill out detailed registration forms. A user enters their contact details, symptoms of a disease, the desired date of consultation, and the name and speciality of a doctor, whether it’s an Online GP or a specialist they wish to see in person.

After preregistration, the patient visits a clinic. All they need to do is confirm their identity with a passport and go to the doctor. An operator does not need to enter customer information manually. The data is automatically uploaded to a CRM system and an EMR.

Way 2. Optimize the work of doctors

It is important to implement electronic medical records into the work of a medical organization and knowing when to use emr vs ehr. An online doctor appointment service collects data and automatically loads it into the EMR/EHR system. A healthcare professional can familiarise themselves with it before the patient arrives at their office. During the visit, the specialist will clarify details and correct the record if necessary and prescribe the correct treatment.

The doctor will have more time to examine the patient and explain the prescription. If the EHR has an embedded eRx function, the doctor will quickly write a prescription using a ready-made electronic template. As such, ensure you have enough staff and doctors to meet patient demands. If there is a shortage of healthcare professionals, consider utilizing locum tenens for surgeons, nurses, or other essential positions to cover any gaps and prevent long wait times for patients.

Way 3: Use secure messaging

In an EHR or a doctor appointment app, you can set up an alert system for a scheduled visit. You can also set up notifications by phone, email, or instant messengers. Thus, patients will receive important information through secure communication channels (the time they need to arrive, the documents to take, and the waiting time).

Way 4: Introduce a no-show policy

In some cases, appointments are delayed because patients are late. A latecomer makes other visitors wait longer. Introduce a no-show policy, and you won’t have angry people waiting in a queue at your clinic. Set a delay limit after which a patient can still be admitted (for example, 5 minutes) and determine the maximum delay time. If a patient fails to observe it, the doctor will ask them to reschedule the visit.

Setting these rules will show patients they need to value not only their time but also respect others. 

Way 5: Conduct a customer survey to find out the cause of delays

When a medical organization does not understand why appointments are delayed, it should conduct a customer survey. It should ask clients how long they wait at the reception and the doctor’s office and how many minutes a specialist spends on a visit. After analysing customer feedback, the administration will see the bottlenecks of the clinic workflow:

  • employees take a long time to register clients;
  • patients are often late, delaying the queue;
  • doctors delay appointments due to increased workload and other reasons.

When the administration finds out the roots of all problems, it will find a solution to them.  

Way 6: Use mobile queueing

Hospitals should introduce electronic or mobile queueing. Thus, a patient will see how much time they have before an appointment. They will either wait at the office or leave for a cup of coffee. Such healthcare software Qless groups queues based on similar concerns or purposes, reducing patient waiting times in a hospital by up to 97%.

Way 7: Implement healthcare software for remote patient monitoring

Medical institutions are implementing healthcare software for remote patient monitoring into their work to reduce massive queues and waiting times.

Such platforms help to make appointments for teleconsultations, conduct virtual appointments, and remotely prescribe treatment. Patients do not need to go to the physical branch of a clinic, stand in line, and register for a consultation. Telecare platforms help contain the spread of infectious diseases, allow social distancing, and reduce waiting times for patients who need a personal doctor’s examination.


Information technology helps to improve the quality of medical services and reduce waiting time in a hospital. Healthcare apps collect relevant information about patients, automate manual tasks, and offload clinics by transferring services online.

To implement an efficient software solution, a clinic needs to contact a healthcare software development company such as Andersen. The IT partner will assess the needs of the organization, implement the functionality necessary to solve the problem, and train employees to work with the system.

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