How to minimise stress on staff and patients through open communication in the waiting area?

open communication

Breaking down the clinic experience reveals the complexity of backstage processes that may falter and lead to longer wait times. An interesting statistic states that nearly 40% of patients admit to being frustrated with their doctor before their appointment even begins, and at NEXA, we want to address this stigma. Clear communication between staff, patients and consumers in the waiting area is vital to reducing stress on all users of the service.

Starting off on the right foot

The sense of frustration as you sit in a waiting room chair, watching the clock tick over – five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes past your scheduled appointment time – may seem to be universally unavoidable. You have no idea of the reason for the delay, and when you are finally called, it’s already too late – you’re annoyed at your healthcare provider, and rightfully so. For many patients, their clinic experience starts off on the wrong foot, and there is a simple way organisations can avoid this – increased communication.

A US study revealed that 86% of patients say that learning what their expected wait time will be, removes any irritation with their healthcare provider. Being upfront about delays reduces anxiety by keeping patients and consumers in the know. NEXA strongly encourages healthcare organisations to be transparent about wait times, as it has been proven to effectively change patient perception by allowing them to manage their expectations.

Waiting on their own terms

Open and honest communication improves the overall patient experience by allowing patients and consumers to manage their own waiting experience. Grabbing a coffee or ducking outside for some fresh air is much more enjoyable than squirming anxiously, waiting to be called – particularly in the case of parents with children, who can feel free to take them to the bathroom without fear of losing their spot. NEXA believes keeping patients and consumers informed goes a long way to reducing stress and anxiety in what might be a very stressful time in their lives.

Transparency is key to a better experience

At NEXA, we want to eliminate the common concern amongst healthcare providers that revealing wait times will annoy patients and consumers further, or even scare them away. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the evidence supporting transparent communication around wait times is indisputable. Increasing communication to patients and consumers can make a significant difference.

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