Dont keep your patients waiting


Dr KK Aggarwal    05 April 2018

Long waiting time influences patient satisfaction and physician ratings, according to findings from the 9th Annual Vitals Wait Time Report (https://www.vitals.com/about/posts/press-center/press-releases/9th-annual-vitals-wait-time-report-released).

  1. 84% patients considered waiting time to be “somewhat important” or “very important” part of the overall experience at the clinic.
  2. 30% patients walked out due to the long waiting time. The long delays also prompted patients to change their doctor; one in five patients reported changing their doctor as a result.
  3. Doctors with the longest average wait time (34 minutes, 11 seconds) were rated lowest (one-star), while physicians with an average wait time of 13 minutes, 17 seconds were given a five-star rating.

This survey is a western study, where punctuality is given great importance, unlike in India, where people generally have a rather lax attitude towards punctuality.

But, punctuality is very important and no patient should be kept waiting, especially in an emergency. Regulation 3.3 of MCI Code of Ethics says, “Utmost punctuality should be observed by a physician in making themselves available for consultations”. A long waiting time negatively affects patient satisfaction.

Almost every patient carries a smartphone today and most patients now do not shy away from expressing their opinion about the quality of services on social media.

A satisfied patient is your best ‘advertisement’. A patient who is satisfied with the care received at your establishment will recommend you to 10 other potential patients, while an unsatisfied patient will talk against you to 100 people.

Punctuality denotes professionalism; it’s a trait worth having and adds value to your ‘brand’.

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