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Traditionally, waiting rooms have been a sort of face for your clinic, where patients get their first taste of the attention and service they will receive under your care. They are a place to meet your staff, start a conversation, and—of course—to indulge in the best magazines.
Over the last few years, digital patient engagement products have innovated the traditional waiting room, moving them from a place of tedious paperwork to simply a space to pass the time until the doctor is ready. By stacking these products on top of one another, you have the power to bring the bulk of traditional waiting room processes virtual.
The most obvious reason for a virtual waiting room is also the most pressing. As your clinic develops a plan to safely keep your practice open in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the waiting room is one of the easiest places to shift your workflow away from contact and toward the virtual.
Traditional waiting rooms typically involve a host of shared surfaces, from chairs and countertops to magazines and pens. But, enabling patients to fill out paperwork online from the comfort and safety of their own devices eliminates many of those touchpoints. Traditional waiting rooms can also involve many people, including patients and staff, gathered in and passing through a small, enclosing space. But allowing patients to notify the clinic upon arrival then wait for the therapist in their car reduces the overlap of people in the room and ensures heightened precautions for the uncertain months ahead.
Even before COVID-19 came onto the scene, patients were coming to expect a more virtual options for their care. A virtual waiting room, for your clinic, might include heightened convenience, such as remote payment processing, intake on demand, and easy-to-access feedback opportunities. These come with perks for patients like flexibility in scheduling, the option to do telehealth appointments from home, and more focused, impactful appointments when less time is spent reviewing paperwork with the provider.
It can even be made more convenient for your staff, as there are fewer stacks of paper to manage, creating a less stressful and more streamlined workplace. Online options can also optimize time, as they can reduce the necessary data entry and rote tasks. Plus, a better understanding of what actions they take which really make a difference in the patient experience, which could make your clinic a happier place for patients and staff alike.
Maybe we won’t miss the magazines after all.