Elements of a Successful Patient Queue
Hospitals are (incredibly) busy. And they’re only getting busier: In 2020, the number of emergency room visits in the United States surpassed 130 million.
Admittedly, 2020 brought with it widespread rationale for healthcare visits—but that number isn’t decreasing. American healthcare expenditure has been steadily rising for years. Yet as the need for more hospital bandwidth goes up, the number of healthcare personnel available is going down.
Quality patient care depends on efficiency. Customer satisfaction in healthcare is crucial because it leads to more patient compliance, better clinical outcomes, increased patient loyalty, and (importantly) fewer medical malpractice suits.
Wait times continue to be a source of frustration for patients. However, the patient queue is one area over which healthcare providers can gain better control—even with increased patient volume and less staff. Here’s how technology is providing a much-needed boost to operational efficiency and patient satisfaction.
The Benefits Patient Queues Can Bring to Your Hospital
Imagine a day in your hospital or healthcare facility without the hustle, bustle, and frustration of dealing with lines of patients eyeing the clock and asking for updates about their appointments. Consider:
- How much bandwidth would that free up for your staff?
- How much more pleasant would the environment be in your hospital?
- And how much better would your patient experience become?
A proven way to achieve all of those outcomes in one fell swoop is by implementing a patient queue management system. A high-quality queue management service can help alleviate stress for busy staff members and improve customer satisfaction at the same time.
But first: What is a patient queue management system?
A patient queue management system is a software- or hardware-based system that can organize and manage patient flow within a healthcare facility. Through a patient virtual queue system, patients can check in, receive estimated wait times, and get status updates in real time. On the staff side of things, healthcare workers can manage and monitor patient wait times and service levels, which gives them more data to help them figure out the best way to provide stellar (and stress-free) care.
This may sound simple, but the benefits associated with patient queue management systems are real. For starters, there’s the clear benefit of reduced wait times for patients and less of a need to field exasperating questions about those lengthy wait times.
But the benefits you can experience go far beyond that. Here are a few more examples:
- Your healthcare staff will have more headspace to handle administrative and patient care tasks.
- Your patients will be less crowded, which can help mitigate any safety concerns they have (especially during cold and flu season!).
- Your executive team will have access to constantly updated hospital performance data for analysis.
- Your patients should rely less on last-minute cancellations because they’ll have reminders, notifications, access to prescheduling, and other important ways to make the logistics of scheduling healthcare a breeze.
And, importantly, high-quality patient queue systems can help improve patient compliance. If your patients have a good healthcare experience, from a serene and swift waiting room stint to an excellent provider interaction, they’ll be much more likely to follow through with their healthcare plans and make and keep any necessary subsequent appointments. Doing so could change their lives for the better, especially if they’re managing a chronic condition.
In short, your facility can stop seeing patient queues as a necessary downside of the healthcare experience and start leveraging the waiting time to learn more about ways to care for your patients. You’ll save time, money, and stress. And you’ll improve patient care.
The Must-Have Elements of a Successful Hospital Patient Queue Management System
The above scenario might sound incredible for a specific type of healthcare setting. It’s easy to overlook how patient queue management systems are great for any number of settings.
The best patient queue management systems are flexible, customizable, and scalable—which means you should be able to implement them (and see incredible benefits) just about anywhere.
Want to see what we mean? Let’s start with a basic question: What does a successful queuing, take-a-number, or customer line system mean to you?
If we’re building out our optimal queue system, we want it to include the following elements:
- An intuitive user interface. Ideally, the interface would take no added time at all to use, and staff and patients alike would understand how to use it without the need for further instruction.
- Real-time patient tracking. This would help healthcare administrators and providers prepare to provide care. A good tracking function will also alert the healthcare team with status updates if a scheduling shift is necessary.
- Automated appointment reminders. This helps increase patient attendance, keep everyone on schedule, and reduce the administrative load on the healthcare team.
- Integrations with the tech we already know and love. The right patient queue system should mesh nicely with existing healthcare records and patient notification tools. Not only will this make adoption of the new queue solution a breeze—it’ll add to existing systems to make overall efficiency skyrocket.
- Advanced-yet-accessible analytics. Real-time data reports are a practical and powerful way to learn more about your hospital and how you can tweak your operations to improve service. But data reports are often inscrutable and overwhelming. We’d want our successful patient queue system to provide actually helpful data for our team to leverage.
- Robust compliance and security measures. When selecting patient management systems in a healthcare setting, privacy is key! An ideal patient queue system would include protections for data privacy, so no one stresses or feels scared about their personal information.
- The ability to grow! Hospital and outpatient clinic systems are expanding because of the current universal need for responsive, high-quality healthcare. As long as we’re talking about an ideal patient queuing system, we’d want to make sure it’s ready to grow with our operations as needed.
We’re Here to Help You Streamline Your Patient Queues (For Good)
Ready to revamp the way you think about patient queue management systems?
Qtrac can help you maximize efficiency and reduce stress for your overloaded hospital and healthcare systems. And our support team is here to support you as you make that happen: It’s our goal to make onboarding our services as simple as possible. Just ask our team how we can make your life easier, and we’ll get started with a free demo.
Interested in learning more about what Qtrac offers you? Here’s a free resource for you to check out: How to Avoid the Hidden Costs of Queue Management Systems.
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