Queues are brought about by disparities between demand for a service and the capacity to meet these demands. And in an industry of multiple variables and unpredictability, such as healthcare, the dynamics of system service may be very complex without proper proactive queue management.
The reality is that these long wait times are more than just patient inconveniences; they have far-reaching consequences that also affect physicians, medical staff, and the entire health facility. In this article, we are interested in the tangible and intangible costs that stem from poor queue management.
Poor resource management
The health sector is expected to manage fixed resources amidst increasing activity levels and patient demands. Until recently, resource management decisions have always been anchored on the staff’s experience and estimation. The result? Disastrously overcrowded and severely understaffed emergency rooms.
To address this gap in resource provision and allocation, proactive and prudent queue management is necessary. Queue management systems offer a systematic, data-driven approach to the complex yet often overlooked resource management processes. They enable the management to rapidly evaluate priorities in each department through in-depth and comprehensive insights.
Patients are consumers too and they have stringent customer service expectations just as they would in other sectors. Patients, like other consumers, are very conscious of their experiences when it comes to entrusting someone with their health and money. When patients are frustrated by poor experiences, they are less likely to return to your facility.
Long wait times and poor queue management significantly increase the likelihood of patient no-shows. Research has shown that patient no-shows, and forfeited appointments increase as wait times get longer as patients often switch to providers offering short waiting times. This will eventually prove successful in bringing about a deceleration in hospital revenue and expenditure growth.
Research has found patients’ wait times to be closely associated with the patient’s perception of the quality of care they receive. For instance, patients are more likely to perceive the staff as kind or compassionate if their waiting times are shorter. On the other hand, longer waiting times will likely diminish the patient’s confidence in the health facility. Long queues paint an image of a mismanaged and disorganized process, a far cry from what people expect when visiting a health facility.
Proper queue management means managing patient expectations by prioritizing appropriately, being transparent about the expected wait times and using digital signage to keep the patient entertained and informed during their wait. Q-SYS feedback solution also identifies patient grievances and ensures high-quality personalized care right from the initial appointment. However, it should be noted that shortening patient wait times at the expense of time spent with the physician would prove counterproductive for obvious reasons.
Healthcare is an industry that needs constant improvements by continuously identifying weak points and fine-tuning them. A queue management system provides hospital administrators with insights to aid them in identifying their shortcomings in specific service delivery areas. This, in turn, empowers them to optimize workflows by allocating resources accordingly.
Health facilities can strategically assign employees across departments by analyzing peak hours and staff performance. A queue management system also takes the workload off your staff’s shoulders by taking care of queue management and registration, letting them focus on what they do best; service delivery.
Almost all of us have spent countless hours pacing up and down the corridors of a health facility waiting for our turn to see a physician. Hallways packed with patients waiting for beds, surgeries or test results have become customary and widely accepted as the norm. Q-SYS Queue management system is bringing sanity back to the hospital lobby by establishing a queueing model that intelligently predicts congestion levels to determine how much capacity is needed to achieve the desired level of performance. Your staff and patients deserve the best hospital experiences, and with Q-SYS, you can make this a reality.