5 ways to reduce patient wait times

As the importance of care quality and patient experience continues to mount in the era of the ACA, physician practices must find ways to maximize reimbursement under value-based payment models. Shrinking patient wait times can help, according to Diagnostic Imaging.

Here are five strategies for decreasing patient wait times from Johanna Epstein, vice president of management consulting services for Woburn, Mass.-based Culbert Healthcare Solutions.

1. Find a physician leader who understands the connection between patient access and care quality and can champion policies designed to improve efficiency.

2. Analyze the average wait time for the third available appointment, not the first. The average wait time for the first available appointment is not a reliable metric due to the frequency of cancellations and no-shows.

3. Examine providers' schedules to determine if physician-patient interaction time is being maximized.

4. Finish the benefits-eligibility verification process and any authorizations prior to each appointment.

5. Remove phones from the greeting desk to allow front-desk employees to focus on face-to-face patient interaction. Phones can be placed in a separate office and be monitored by designated employees.

More articles on patient flow: 
St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City to close birthing center 
10 cities with the most access to quality healthcare 
Hospital-affiliated combined ED, urgent care centers reduce unnecessary emergency visits

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