Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are wait time guarantees more than a marketing tool?

10 MinutesGreeted with a "Sign in and have a seat", I sat for the next 14 minutes before being summoned to the front desk by a less than friendly receptionist. No doubt she hadn't read the sign in the waiting room that stated: "We recognize your time is valuable. Please let us know if you have not been taken care of in 10 minutes. Thank You." I chose not to approach her about the 10 minute marker in fear of being labeled a "trouble maker" never yields better service.

When I stepped up to the desk - the greeting was disguised as a request for my insurance card, driver's license, and prescription. I stood there silently while she copied it and said "Thanks". I asked how long it would be and the response given was "soon". I asked again for the length of time before I would be seen and she responded as soon as I put the paperwork in. That is a very powerful remark to make - and the very sentiment that stopped me from telling them they were past their 10 minute mark with me.

I returned to my seat and waited. Yes, all the comfort measures were there - coffee, TV, magazines, and a room full of people waiting. It was a little more than 15 minutes later that my name was called by the clinical staff.

As I reflect on this, I wonder:
  1. What 10 minute period do they want us to measure? Arrival time to registration or Registration to Procedure commencement time or something else.
  2. Why should I, the patient, have to remind them I am there?
  3. How could a manager improve the registration process without information about arrival time? The sign in sheet asks for names only
  4. How should non clinical staff learn from patients/families to be as welcoming and friendly as the clinical staff?
We can learn from every health care experience - what works and what doesn't. Whether you were a patient, visitor or caregiver, share your experience now.

Sharing your health care experience helps others find the best care.

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