Although health care has made it onto the political scene in recent years, the majority of Americans remain dissatisfied with how health care functions in the US. According to the New York Times, long approval times are a driving force in dissatisfaction in US health care. To help keep your practice out of this problem, you need to know a few things about how electronic patient registration and use of electronic patient forms can reduce these wait times.
How Long Do Americans Wait?
An extended wait time to be seen in a practice is considered lengthy if a patient waits more than six days for an appointment. In Boston, the average wait time for a physical is 66 days. In Washington, patients are being forced to wait more than 30 days. Yet, Dallas boasts the fastest wait time,10.2 days, explains a Merritt Hawkins report. Clearly, practices need to increase the speed of patient registration and visits much faster.
During the office visit, Americans are being forced to wait even more, to the tune of 1.5 to 2+ hours, if not longer. If a practice's registration processes, including filling out paper work, manual entry by staff, and review of accuracy, take this long, that would equal approximately 400 hours of wasted time in a given month. At $10 per hour, this could amount to saving more than $4,000 per month.
Why Are Americans Waiting So Long?
Part of the reason for extended wait times rests with practices who do not use electronic intake forms or other electronic patient forms. However, a major factor remains the difficulty of scheduling an appointment. For practitioners who use an automated, telephone system, Merritt Hawkins’ experts experienced a “difficult time in attempting to speak to someone to schedule an appointment.” Essentially, these long wait times may be a result of patient difficulties in scheduling an appointment in the first place.
What Are Other Practices Doing to Improve Wait Times?
As reported by Huffington Post, patients who routinely experience long wait times are advised to find a different doctor, and 48 percent of patients who wait for long periods in the office expect a discount on services. As a result, more practices are moving to electronic patient registration, eliminating the need for paperwork-processing wait time and forms upon arrival to the practice.
Patients’ perspectives of today’s health care system reflect the need for faster ways to obtain health care. Practices need to understand the role of automated, digital solutions in prioritizing and registering patients quickly. Streamline patient registration is the only way to save money and improve patient satisfaction. To learn more about how Practice Sense systems can enhance new patient registration processes, watch our free demo video, or request a personalized demo today.