Tips for Reducing Wait Times
Show our members you value their time
Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of a long wait to get a prescription filled or a lab test done, or to see a physician who’s running behind schedule? To help keep Kaiser Permanente patients and members happy, many unit-based teams are tackling this issue and finding ways to reduce wait times.
- Raise awareness of the problem by sharing data about the department’s wait times and patient satisfaction scores with unit-based team members.
- Help your co-workers understand it is everyone’s responsibility to be attentive to members who have been waiting for long periods of time — and recognize co-workers who do this well.
- Inform patients of delays by having the receptionist let them know if a physician is running late.
- Provide members and patients who have been waiting for extended periods of time with individual attention and updated information by “rounding” in the waiting area.
- Put a focus on wait times by posting patient arrival times on exam room doors or having pharmacists call out the wait time in the pharmacy.
- Utilize an “all hands on deck” approach, so when wait times hit a certain threshold, all available staff members drop what they’re doing and help reduce long lines.
- Consider shifting employees’ schedules to ensure adequate staffing during peak hours and at the start of the day, so you don't fall behind from the beginning.*
- Promote alternatives to in-person visits such as prescription refills by mail or email, phone or video consultations with doctors.
- Rethink who does what if part of the reason for long wait times is that only employees in particular job category are allowed to do a certain task.*
- Create a quiet zone in pharmacies to reduce distractions for the primary filling technician.
* Consult with local unions to ensure proposed changes are in line with the contracts.