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Are your providers booked out months in advance? Maybe even years? Having a busy medical practice is no easy feat. You’ve built a solid reputation, you have hundreds of Google reviews, and you’re continuously getting referrals from happy patients. The first question you might ask is: Does your practice really need a waitlist?

The answer is a resounding yes, and here are three main reasons why: patient experience, operational efficiency, and revenue. There isn’t a successful practice out there that doesn’t care about at least one, if not all three. 

Automated Waitlists are a Great Way to Deliver an Elevated Patient Experience

Healthcare is a service business, and providing a great patient experience is critical to maintaining a thriving medical practice. Busy medical practices are not all that different from busy restaurants. To stay at the top of your game, you have to provide an elevated experience every time.

Imagine there’s a popular new restaurant in your town that doesn’t take reservations. You show up to put your name on the list, and the host tells you they’ll have a table ready in an hour and a half. You begrudgingly give them your mobile number to receive the text that your table is ready. After about 30 minutes, you get a text that your table is ready (because a couple of parties didn’t show up). How do you feel? Pleasantly surprised? Elated? Plus, the meal you ended up having was delicious and your server was outstanding. It was a great experience, and you’ll likely tell your friends about it.

Patient behavior and expectations have changed. One of the best ways to wow your patients is to provide strategic and innovative solutions that make patients feel prioritized and in control of their care. Implementing a robust waitlist program delivers next-level service to your patients. 

What’s the best way to manage a waitlist for a busy practice? 

Here are the top pitfalls to avoid and the best practices to implement, based on our experience of working with hundreds of practices and thousands of providers.

Common Pitfalls of Waitlist Management

  • Stop using spreadsheets, writing down lists on notepads and sticky notes, or relying on front office staff to remember which patients want to be seen sooner. It’s prone to human error and likely out of date.

  • Don’t send out a broadcast email or text to your entire waitlist like a batch of newly released tickets for a concert. It’s best to notify a few patients at a time and give them a reasonable amount of time to respond before moving on to additional patients. Why? It’s going to overwhelm your front office with calls and disappoint a lot of patients along the way.

  • Make sure you don’t keep patients on a waitlist if they’ve already been seen or if they don’t want to be on the waitlist. Remember the restaurant example? Imagine getting a text about a table being available after you paid your check. It’s not a good look.

  • Don’t limit notifying your patients of earlier appointments to your regular business hours. Like your staff, many patients have busy schedules during the day, and it can be challenging to accept a phone call. Sending texts and emails is less intrusive and easier for patients to respond to at their convenience. 

Best Practices of Waitlist Management

  • Make sure your waitlist is always full and up-to-date. While we all wish we had a crystal ball, you can’t predict the unpredictable, and even the most robust reminder system can’t prevent cancellations.

  • Give patients numerous ways to add themselves to your waitlist:
    • At the time of scheduling, both online and in-office
    • From booking confirmation emails and texts
    • By your staff, as they’re scheduling follow-ups with patients on their way out

  • Giving patients as many open slots to choose from is going to help keep provider schedules full.

  • Automate your waitlist management. Free up your front office staff from spending hours on the phone calling down a waitlist so they can help provide top-level service to patients who are in the office. 

  • Training your staff about your waitlist process is critical. Make sure they understand how it’s managed so that patients get a consistent message.

🚀 Pro Tip: Having an automated waitlist can give you insights into possible ways to grow your practice. If your waitlist is extremely long for certain types of procedures, perhaps it’s time to consider adding more providers.

Interested in learning more about automating a waitlist with your practice management solution?

Schedule a demo today.

Waitlist Demo

"You folks really thought this through. The Waitlist feature is a no-brainer! We depend on NextPatient so much, anything that is manual is destined to fail."

-Nathan Clark

Complete Health Partners





Post by NextPatient
August 15, 2023