With the impact of COVID-19 continuing to be felt throughout healthcare systems of every size, those of us in need of care have also had to continue to navigate a variety of routes to see our providers. Whether it is wearing a face mask during an appointment, being questioned about potential symptoms at the entrance, or having your temperature taken by a healthcare worker while you sit in your vehicle, providers and patients will more than likely be looking at a new normal once the recovery process of COVID-19 is underway. As we continue to prioritize social distancing and hospitals urge patients to limit exposure risks in waiting rooms before appointments, what does that mean for waiting rooms moving forward?
Waiting rooms have always been an area of question, especially for those who are immune-compromised, but with this newly heightened awareness of social distancing, will that feeling to stay six feet apart dissipate or perhaps increase? Before the COVID-19 outbreak, busy waiting rooms were full of chairs close enough to rub elbows with your neighbor and a variety of children’s toys and magazines were scattered throughout the area to keep little ones occupied. With the onset of COVID-19, many of those toys have been removed and chairs are either limited or severely spaced.
“It is estimated that there are 883.7 million ambulatory care visits a year in the U.S., with 54.5 percent of these visits going to primary care physicians. With an average wait time of 18 minutes and 13 seconds from arrival until a patient is seen by the provider, there is ample time for the mingling of patients who have an acute infectious disease and those who do not,” according to Medical Economics.
From here on out, patients will be highly aware of how much time we are spending in busy waiting rooms surrounded by others who are also in need of care. Being more mindful of how long we are waiting in certain conditions could have a drastic effect on our overall patient experience and satisfaction levels. A new patient flow design that eliminates waiting times or the ever-increasing popularity in Telehealth platforms may be responsible for making waiting rooms a thing of the past. With more and more families utilizing this virtual service during the pandemic, the perks of receiving care in this manner have become increasingly popular. With increased access to care, flexibility and the implementation of smart devices that can be synced to your medical records for your provider to review, sitting face to face with your provider may soon be a thing of the past for some.
At Signature Performance, we believe the healthcare industry in the United States deserves only the best, and that sentiment is what motivates our dedicated team to do our very best each and every day. It’s our calling to bend the curve of healthcare administration costs by improving the overall quality and experience. To learn more about Signature Performance, contact our team today or check out our careers page for a list of our latest opportunities.
Mark Mathia is the Chief Experience Officer at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Mathia is also a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.