Discuss the factors contributing to long waiting time in an outpatient clinic
Patients wait for a considerable sum of time in the hospitals waiting to be attended to by nurses, doctors, and other medical service providers. The measure to which health care service seekers become contented with the service rendered is directly dependent on the amount of time one has waited (Res., 2013). Hospitals that seek to provide quality service should be able to control the patients waiting time efficiently. At the same time, clinics fuse patients-driven structures to plan waiting period to facilitate satisfactory service provision.
The waiting period is the patient’s amount of time from the arrival time before being attended to by hospital staff until the point the patient leaves the facility. The waiting period by patients is often used as a measure of a hospital quality service provision. The period taken before a patient is seen by a doctor is a factor that impacts clinical services operations. Patients always perceive a prolonged waiting period as an impediment to acquiring services (Res., 2013). Making patients wait unreasonably can result in anxiety for both medical staff and patients. The waiting period is an essential aspect of medical service provision that patients will apply to determine the efficiency of service in a clinic.
The recommended waiting period set by the institute of medicine should be at most thirty minutes from the arrival time to attend to ninety percent of patients. However, this recommendation varies from place to place because of different reasons. Operation factors influence the long waiting time in the outpatient clinic. Nairobi, Kenya, for example, Mwanga’s study, found out that a substantial amount of time is lost when patients are waiting for the doctors (Mwanga, 2013). The study depicted a significant number of people seeking outpatient services. The hospital management does not have proper shift management techniques to aid in effective shift changes. At the same time, some medical service providers are often absent in their work station, making patients wait for them for an extended period.
Lack of enough medical staff also contributes to long waiting time and impact service provision in an outpatient clinic. Patients will be forced to wait longer periods when the present clinical staff, doctor, and nurse are not enough to render the needed service. When on shift, the scarcity of efficiency by clinical staff can result in patients waiting for a longer period, more so when the present medical staff is committed to other errands.
Recommendations to manage customers’ waiting time effectively.
Increased recruitment of medical staff and sponsoring of more students to partake medical course to help address patient to doctor ratio and staff shortage in the long run. The medical staff should be trained in teamwork. When one section has no clients, he/she can step in and help in documentation like note-taking during patients’ visits, gathering the history of the patient, and handling prescriptions (Lafolla, 2017). Teamwork would help reduces time loss and facilitate efficient and effective service provision.
Use protected messaging; use the latest and protected technological system in passing useful information to patients. Such secure communication platforms will promote effective and efficient service delivery and increase the client’s satisfaction. Protected messaging will aid in lowering the total number of received calls, get rid of phone tags, and facilitate fast response to client’s queries.
Formulate a rule on late arrivals and no-show; clinics should formulate policies to handle patients who walk in late and fail to show up for appointments. Clinics should have a strict set time for late coming. If a client walks in late, let him/her know that there is a consequence that may include rescheduling, extra charges, and cancellation of the appointment. It would help address lateness and show up failures of appointments (Lafolla, 2017). Arrival and no-show policies should be communicated to clients in their first visit or through the firm’s website, brochures, and notices. It would insinuate that the clinic values both their time and clients.
Create a survey formula; it would help the clinic find out the areas where they are performing poorly and put more emphasis on how effective their policies and services work. Investment in the latest technology like mobile queue gargets will aid in reducing time loss (Singh, 2013). Both patients and medical staff will know the expected waiting period and note whenever they are falling behind.
Lack of enough staff, operational factors, and absenteeism from work stations by medical care givers and administrators are some of the factors influencing long patient waiting time in the outpatient clinic. Addressing the above grievances and implementing the suggested recommendations will aid in reducing clients waiting period, improve service delivery, and quality of healthcare in general.
Lafolla, T. (2017). Ways to Reduce Patient Wait Times. How to Reduce Patient Wait Times, 50-54.
Mwanga, D. (2013). Mwanga_Factors Affecting Patient Satisfaction At KenyattaNational Hospital, Kenya A Case Of Cancer Outpatient Clinic. Nairobi.
Res., A. M. (2013). Determinants of Patient Waiting Time in the General Outpatient Department of a Tertiary Health Institution in North Western Nigeria. Annals of medical and HealthSciences Research , 588–592.
Singh, P. P. (2013). Reducing waiting time in outpatient serviceof large University teaching hospital. Remya .