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The high costs of patient wait times

No one likes to wait – the amount of time spent waiting in the ambulatory setting is inversely related to overall patient satisfaction (Figure 1 & Figure 2). Moreover, longer wait times reduce patients’ perceptions of a physician’s capabilities and decrease patients’ confidence in the care provided (1).

Figure 1. The relationships between waiting times and average satisfaction scores across 44 ambulatory surgery centers.

Bleustein C, Rothschild DB, Valen A, Valatis E, Schweitzer L, Jones R. Wait times, patient satisfaction scores, and the perception of care. Am J Manag Care 2014 May; 20(5):393-400.

Figure 2. Medical practice satisfaction by time spent in waiting area.

CP: Care Provider. Press Ganey Associates, Inc. 2009 Medical Practice Pulse Report: Patient Perspectives on American Health Care. South Bend, IN.

Long wait times don’t just reduce patient satisfaction, they also directly impact patient outcomes and margin. Healthcare organizations should act to reduce patient wait times if they desire to stay competitive in a rapidly changing healthcare economy.

The business case for reducing long wait times (read more)
The clinical case for reducing long wait times (read more)
  • Improve the patient’s perception of the quality of care received (2)
  • Strengthen patient confidence in your physician’s capabilities, increase patient engagement, and improve care-plan adherence (3)
What opportunities exist for patient care teams to reduce patient wait times?

Reducing waiting times is very complicated without the right software tools. Traditional scheduling methods result in long patient wait times. These traditional methods don’t incorporate the granular and accurate data on patient-care team interaction times, process steps, patient arrival times, cancellations, and no-shows needed to ensure high-quality patient experience.

High-performance teams reduce and mitigate long patient wait times by using sensors and software that allow Care Teams to schedule patients at the right time. The software significantly reduces wait times, improves room turnover times, and communicates expected wait times with patients.

Apprentice Health is the pioneer in reducing patient wait times and improving the patient experience in ambulatory care settings through its use of sensors, simulation, and artificial intelligence.

Our Scheduling software modules have reduced patient wait times by 20-40% at leading hospitals across the country, and we’re just getting started. These results will only become more impressive as more clinical datasets are incorporated into our scheduling models.

Over a series of posts, we will outline in greater detail the software solutions needed to reduce and mitigate patient wait times:

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