Why Long Waiting Room Times Are Impacting Your Bottom Line
By: Marcia Leighton, Executive Director, Client Services
Many hospitals struggle with long waiting room wait times, and these only increase during the winter (and flu) time frame as we’ve just seen in the last few months. According to Business Insider, an estimated 5-12 percent increase in emergency room visits occur during the winter holidays. Furthermore, requiring patients to sit in a waiting room for long periods of time before seeing their doctors is detrimental to the overall patient experience, and ultimately the hospital’s bottom line. A recent report notes that 30 percent of patients faced with long waiting room times leave before the doctor arrives. Likewise, 20 percent of patients will choose another provider altogether after experiencing excessively long waiting room wait times. This results in a loss of revenue for the provider and disruption for the patient.
The problem of overly long wait times is manageable with the right processes and supporting technology. Hospitals are starting to adopt tools that enhance the patient registration process and improve productivity through workflows, technology adoption, process improvement and training. By prioritizing wait time reduction and early intervention, hospitals will benefit as collections, as well as customer loyalty, increase.
PatientMatters’ IntelliPass® system addresses these issues by creating a virtual pre-access ‘department’ where patients are registered for their visit and informed of the cost of their visits before they arrive. The three-tiered patient arrival classification enables patients to move through the registration process at an accelerated speed.
Patients who pay before their appointments date fall into the No-StopTM category and are cleared directly to the clinical location. Those who have pre-registered but have elected to pay for their visit when they arrive are considered Quick-StopTM patients. Full-StopTM patients are those who go through the traditional patient registration and payment process when they arrive for their scheduled visit.
Hospitals and health systems that have implemented the IntelliPass system have experienced remarkable results, including:
- Increase in personalized bill estimate accuracy to greater than 95%
- Reduction in no show and cancellation rates by 25%
- Increase in point-of-service cash collections by 125% six months from go-live
- Reduction in in-person registration encounter time by 25%
By creating a streamlined registration process, patients experience less frustration and their care begins with a positive experience. In an era where patients are willing to shop for healthcare to get the best price and patient experience, it is imperative hospitals implement processes, technology, and training that will strengthen customer loyalty and in turn improve the financial health of the organization.