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Online Tool Takes the 'Wait' Out of Waiting Rooms

Cynthia Johnson for HealthLeaders Media, December 27, 2010

"If you look at customer satisfaction surveys, the No. 1 complaint is not time spent with the doctor or quality with the doctor, it's time spent in the waiting room," he says.

"Anything that we can do to impact that will improve the doctor-patient relationship. Once the patient has been waiting for an hour and you walk into the exam room, it's a totally different relationship."

"If the patient feels that they have more control over the situation, they're not as edgy and uptight," Liggett adds. Mehta says the idea for MedWaitTime was created with the doctor-patient relationship in mind, since the tool allows physicians to communicate wait times to patients without making phone calls.

When a physician doesn't honor an appointment time, it leaves patients feeling as though the physician hasn't respected their time, says Mehta. "Changing that relationship by demonstrating that you're doing your best to be mindful and respectful of their time is huge for the doctorpatient relationship."

Mehta uses MedWaitTime in his own orthopedic practice. Some of his patients include nuclear physicists who work for Fermilab in nearby Batavia, IL. "It doesn't make any sense to have them sitting in a waiting room reading Better Homes and Gardens," he says. "It's the same for the young mom who has four kids. It's crazy to have these people sitting around for an hour unnecessarily. It's time to put an end to that, especially when it's something as simple as a technology solution."

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1 comments on "Online Tool Takes the 'Wait' Out of Waiting Rooms"


rcirillo (1/6/2011 at 1:42 PM)
Great idea & 1st step, but too many important pieces missing in this satisfaction issue. I don't think the "reason" for their lateness is important as much as what options patients have when the providers are habitually that far behind. What happens with the patient's notification? Are patients allowed to email back that they want to reschedule and have reasonable options? Are patients allowed to show up an hour or two later and be seen right away, or are people who were scheduled 'after' them (incl those walk-ins) keep bumping them...meaning does this become the same old "1st come 1st served" scenario which brings everybody back to wait wait wait, or you will miss your turn.