Today, I have one patient who waited for more than 60 minutes (68 minutes) from her booked appointment time. This is the second incident so far in November 2017.
I have analyzed the main cause (s) of the prolonged waiting time of this patient. I was on time in the start of my clinic. In fact, I started at 930 am, 30 minutes earlier than my official start of my clinic (10 am).
The main causes of the prolonged waiting time that I was able to identify were 1) prolonged consultation time of some patients and 2) patients arriving late.
Prolonged consultation time of some patients
For the prolonged consultation time of some patients, I tried my best to avoid. At time, however, it would be difficult. Example, today, I was forced to do an incision and drainage of an advanced neck abscess in my clinic in a new 70-year-old patient . This took me about 30 minutes, thus, impinging on the schedule of the next and subsequent patients. Also, today, I have to discuss the details of a proposed treatment for a breast cancer patient, who was very anxious. This took me about 45 minutes. Again, this impinges on the schedule of the subsequent patients.
My resolution: Split the consultation time of long-consulting patients, meaning, I will evaluate them first and talk to them and provide initial service for at most 15 minutes. If the consultation time will take more than 15 minutes, I will request for a break and see the next patients first who have arrived based on their booked appointment time. I will see these long-consulting patients again once I am done with these patients with booked appointment.
Patients arriving late
The second main cause today was the late arrival of patients. They were asked to be in the clinic at least 30 minutes before their booked appointment time. If they would arrive 30 minutes before their booked appointment time, I have more leeway to adjust the consultation time of some patients so as to avoid a prolonged waiting time.
My resolution: Emphasize to the patients tardiness includes the 30-minute allowance prior to the booked consultation time. They will consider late if they arrive less than 30 minutes prior to the booked consultation time. Consequences of late arrival include being moved to the last slots and not being counted in the waiting time of consultation.
Hopefully, these two resolutions will improve the management system of booked appointment time so that no patients will wait for more than 60 minutes from the booked appointment time.
All patients will be happy. I will be happy too in providing excellent patient experience!