How Hospitals, Health Clinics and Doctors Offices Benefit From Virtual Waiting Rooms

Today’s hospital registration software is lacking the ability to mange the long, and sometimes frustrating, waiting periods patients have to endure to see a health care practitioner. Long waits are common for the Emergency Department, Operating Room and outpatient clinics for example. On average, Americans spend over 250 hours of their lives waiting to see a physician, either in a hospital, clinic or doctors office. Hospital registration software simply neglects this crucial point of service experience. What’s the solution?

Fostering a Positive Experience through a Virtual Waiting Room

Health care executives who are truly focused on the patient centered service are thinking out of the box when it comes to this crucial point of service experience. They are deploying queue management systems that create a virtual waiting room. Queue systems integrating SMS technology enable interaction with the patient or family member’s mobile phone. With queue mobile systems patients can enjoy a greater freedom to move around and avoid being exposed to sick people. Interactive queue mobile systems that use SMS text messaging enable hospital staff to notify a family member or patient instantly when it’s their turn. Patients or families are no longer tethered to an unpleasantly and potentially hazardous waiting area.

Today’s hospital management systems need to take into account the waiting room experience. Redesigning the hospital or clinic’s waiting room to be more soothing, less crowded and a comfortable space is a common approach that works but can be costly in terms of capital expenses. A more cost effective approach is to let the family or patient decide where in the area is the most comfortable place for them to wait. Empowering the patient or the family increases satisfaction.

Benefit to Work Flow
Staff can easy reach the patient or family with a text message or voice message directly to their cell phone. Text messaging is a very powerful communication medium with over 95% of text messages read and 85% of those read immediately. The advantages of texting is it is instant. With only 160 chacactar your message comes across concise and to the point. Interactive queue management systems can even reducing staffing costs.

How it Works for Hospital:
Traditional ED Wait Room scenario
Patient shows up at the emergency room on a busy Saturday and is triaged to the waiting room. Since the patients condition is not life threatening they are in for a long wait and potentially exposed to infectious diseases.

The interactive queue mobile ED scenario
The patient is triaged and the ED Registration staff requests permission to text or send a voice notification to the patient when the ED staff can see the patient. The patient, equipped with his mobile phone, can choose to wait anywhere he’d like (out side for fresh air, coffee shop, garden, etc) He can interact with the virtual waiting room by texting into the system specific commands such as “S” to get an updated on his status in line for instance. Although the wait time is actually not shorten the patient’s perception changes for the positive by feeling empowered he is influencing is waiting room experience.

Operating Room scenario
Patient is brought in for surgery and family is sequestered to the waiting room for 4 hours or more waiting for word on their loved one’s prognosis? The family has small children who are restless and hungry. The children want to take a walk to the cafeteria to get some food but OR staff encourages them to stay because the doctor will only have minutes to update them until his next procedure. They wait in anxiety and frustration.

The interactive queue mobile OR scenario
OR staff encourages family to take a walk to the cafeteria to get some food and burn off some anxiety. The OR staff ask for permission to text them when their loved one is out of surgery and doctor is about ready to seem them. Family goes to cafeteria to get a bit to eat. OR staff texts family, “patient is out of surgery and they can see the doctor now”. Family meets with doctor, everything is okay. Family perceives the OR staff as being extra accommodating thus increasing the family satisfaction.

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