Ways to Reduce Patient Wait Times for Canadian Emergency Departments

Providing an excellent patient experience at your emergency department involves a conscious consideration of patient wait times as well as how you utilize your own time as a medical professional. When doctors, nurses, and other staff are pulled in countless directions at a moment’s notice, the waiting room can back up and create a longer queue that can further add to the stress or create delays in treatment.

As the leader of a healthcare organization, you likely hold your staff and facility to high standards in terms of quality of service. A simple way to achieve and maintain this ideal is through utilizing the right strategies to reduce time that patients spend in the waiting room.

If you are concerned about backups in the waiting room at your emergency hospital, this guide is for you. We’re going to cover some of the most effective ways to reduce patient wait times so that you can improve your operational efficiency and increase patient satisfaction.

Be Transparent With Wait Times

How long can a patient expect to wait after arriving at your emergency department? While some urgent conditions may require immediate attention, others may be able to wait longer to be seen if their issue is not life-threatening.

Place your current wait times in a prominent place on your website that visitors can easily view. You can also feature these times on a mobile app or online check-in service that you use as part of your intake processes.

Pre-Screen Patients with Proactive Communication

Some patients may simply want to know if they should visit your emergency department or if they can wait to see a general practitioner or go to a local walk-in clinic instead. With a digital communication solution like SMS, two-way texting, and direct messaging, you can help people gain the information that they need to decide whether to travel to your facility or not.

By helping patients decide whether they need to visit your specific facility or not, you can help reduce the number of people in the waiting room at any given time. This allows those that need your services to be seen quicker and saves your staff time to spend more on providing excellent care.

Implement Digital Queuing

Digital queuing systems enable you to track patients waiting to be seen as well as alert them when it is their turn. Combining this with a wait time feature, it can create a more accurate expectation for people as they wait.

With queuing, your staff can also see patients in their order of arrival, preventing the possibility of someone waiting longer than they were supposed to. Nobody wants to arrive at an emergency department and feel forgotten, even if it was unintentional.

Reduce Physical Paperwork

Intake paperwork also backs up the waiting room and delays patients from being treated. If they need to complete forms on paper after arriving, this requires more time spent without seeing a medical professional.

With a digital intake solution, patients can fill out your forms prior to their arrival. Another added benefit is that digital form completion reduces the amount of physical documents occupying space in your facility and lessens your organization’s environmental impact.

While the majority of Canadian emergency departments are free to Canadians, some private organizations may also require further paperwork as part of their intake processes. These could include records like health insurance and payment information which can extend the completion time.

Use a Unified Solution to Reduce Patient Wait Times

Though you may already use a number of digital solutions to streamline the workflow in your emergency department, are they creating additional challenges that you did not anticipate?

Utilizing a network of separate solutions creates siloed pools of information that cannot connect between each other easily, if at all. Rather than having all of your necessary data under a single roof, you could be spending more time tracking down the right documents instead of treating patients.

At PulseCheck, we equip Canadian emergency departments with innovative and integrated solutions to better manage process and workflow. In turn, your staff will have more time to focus on treatment while your patients spend less time waiting to be seen.

Built by Canadians, we develop our solutions directly based on the real needs of healthcare providers throughout all of Canada. To learn more about introducing virtual queuing, digital intake, and many other unified solutions into your own operations, contact us today to schedule a demo.