HealthWare Systems Blog

The Patient Experience in Transit – Make it Easier to Get from Here to There

Posted on Fri, May 06, 2016

The patient experience begins long before registration. By the time a patient gets to the registration desk, they have already formed an opinion of their experience, based on phone calls to schedule an appointment, the ease of finding the facility location, parking, and getting from their car to the registration desk.

There are many opportunities to make (or break) the patient experience in these first early interactions, as well as with all that happens for patients after they are discharged. Wayfinding and parking facilities are often overlooked aspects of the patient experience that can be easily improved using real-time patient tracking technology.

The Parking Lot: Clear Signage and Valet Services Can Reduce Stress and Confusion

Parking anywhere can be stressful. Trying to figure out which door you need to park near to get to your destination, looking for signage when visiting a new destination for the first time, and maneuvering around other drivers can be frustrating. A long walk from the parking lot to the entrance doors can also add to stress, especially in inclement weather. Then add in anxiety about a health concern or loved-one’s medical condition, and parking can become the final straw – and the patient hasn’t even walked through your facility doors yet.

The trend of shorter inpatient stays and increased outpatient services is causing greater demand for parking resources, while the combination of medical office buildings on hospital campuses creates complex parking environments.

Do you know how long it takes a patient to get from your farthest parking lot to your facility’s entrance door?

Valet services can ease patients’ entry and departure while providing a feeling of being well-cared for both before and after treatment. By integrating a valet system with patient tracking technology, the registration desk can be prepared for a patient’s arrival and can reference an on-file photo to greet them by name. This kind of personalization can help establish a sense of ease and trust.

When patients have completed their appointment and the clinical staff submits ‘clinical complete’ in the system, a page can be sent to the valet to say that the patient is on their way. By streamlining the entrance and exit process, a valet service can improve efficiencies throughout the facility – from the registration desk and waiting areas, to clinical and lab spaces, and discharge. 

Wayfinding Signage: Clear Signs Often Aren’t Enough

Even if your facility has undergone an accessibility or way-finding project to ensure that signage is clear and consistent across the facility, patients who may be stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious may have difficulty using the signage effectively.

Annually in a hospital facility of some 800 beds, no less than 8,000 hours of professional time are lost in redirecting patients and visitors to their destinations. (source)

Patients who become lost or confused are more likely to be late for appointments, and contribute to service delays and overcrowding in waiting rooms. Their satisfaction scores on surveys such as the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers and Systems) plummet as well.

Patient tracking technology can enable facilities to pull patients through the system rather than pushing them – for example, clinical staff can meet a patient in the waiting area and accompany them to the lab or treatment room. Staff can also direct patients to the ideal representative to help with their specific individual needs, based on language requirements or the need for financial counselling.

Configurable patient tracking software makes it easy to develop your own centralized system for internal and external patient handoffs. Learn more about how ActiveTrack can integrate with existing systems to improve efficiency, reduce patient wait times, and improve patient satisfaction.