The goal for every medical practice is to provide the highest level of service to its patients. But, if you’re not careful, your office can also be a source of stress and anxiety for those same people. Sometimes the process to make appointments is cumbersome. Other times it’s stressful being in a room with a bunch of sick people when you are there for an injury instead. The chairs can be uncomfortable as well and if your office is consistently running late, the patients end up waiting longer in the waiting room. There are many things that you can do to reduce the stress on your patients and make your office more patient-friendly. Here are some tips:
Offer Separate Areas for Sick Versus Injured Patients
No one wants to go to the doctor for an injury to walk out with some yucky sickness they picked up. Create separate spaces for people with infectious illnesses and those with an injury or non-infectious disease. This means using different rooms and even waiting rooms for your infected patients versus your others. This can help people feel more confident coming in for bloodwork, doing annual checkups, and more.
Use an Online App for Appointment Setting
You can use an online appointment-setting tool to get more patients into your practice, faster. This will save you time and help you market your practice by reaching a wider audience. Online apps can even let patients know the wait time until their appointment so that they don’t need to wait in the office as long. Online appointment-setting is easier than traditional methods because it’s done remotely, so there’s no need for a receptionist to manage those appointments. You can still offer people the option to call for an appointment as well.
Hire a Virtual Answering Service
One of the best ways to make your medical office more patient-friendly is by hiring a virtual answering service. These services can handle calls, texts, and emails 24/7 so that you don’t have to worry about being available at all times. And a physician answering service can specialize in helping your medical office specifically. They answer questions about your office’s services as well as provide general information about what patients can expect when they visit for treatment. These are especially helpful for doctors who run mobile services and even offer virtual visits.
Offer Comfortable Seating in the Waiting Room
There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting for hours on end in a waiting room, waiting for your appointment while sitting in hard or worn-out seats – seating matters. If you want patients to feel welcome and comfortable in your medical office, it’s important to provide them with comfortable seating options. Add cushy chairs, chairs for people with larger bottoms, and ones with armrests when possible. Comfortable seating can make a trip to the doctor’s office less stressful overall.
Don’t Make Patients Wait Too Long for Appointments
Speaking of appointment wait times, it’s important that you don’t make patients wait too long for appointments. Patients are expected to be early, so respect their time and show up in the room on time for them. If you’re running behind, let the patient know as soon as possible. This is especially true if people will end up waiting 30 minutes or more beyond their scheduled appointment time to be seen by the doctor.
Try Not to Overbook Your Time
The best way to avoid overbooking is to simply not do it. If you have a day where you’re booked solid and can’t add any more patients, then don’t add more appointments. Urgent patients can go to the ER or urgent care if they can’t wait for an appointment time. Overbooking is one of the main reasons that patients end up waiting too long for their appointments.
Use Calming Music in the Waiting Room
Another way to make your office more patient-friendly is to use calming and soothing music in the waiting room and in the rooms. Make sure the volume is low so that it’s not too overwhelming. Music has been shown to help calm nerves, relax patients, and make them feel more at ease. It can even reduce stress and anxiety levels in some people.
Add Greenery With Plants
Adding greenery to your office can be a great way to improve the patient’s experience. Plants are known for their ability to purify the air, and many studies have shown that plants help improve moods by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Having plants in your office can help people feel more relaxed and at ease before their medical appointment.