Appointments are the most common dental clinic queue management system today. Countless clinics actually have a system where they cater patients by appointment only and not as walk-ins. But is this system really advantageous to everyone? If you’re 100% convinced that it is, then you can simply visit this link to book an appointment. But if you’re open to other inputs, read on!
With appointments, it’s not really that complicated. By knowing exactly how many patients have to be attended to and when, the dental team can prepare in advance. Therefore, the primary purpose of using an appointment system is to avoid unpredictability in catering patients.
But is the appointment system really the best approach? Actually, it depends on the scenario.
The idea that appointments work exactly the way we expect them can be flawed. Too many assumptions can be unrealistic. There’s a long list of problems with appointments.
Ideally, appointments sound like a logical way to queue up.
However, it only works if we assume that everyone acts in the right way. If all patients arrive exactly when they’re expected to, there shouldn’t be any problems, right? But the harsh reality is that it doesn’t always go as planned.
People are prone to being late. And if a patient is late, it triggers a chain reaction. This effect consumes a lot of time that could have been used more productively. If just one scheduled appointment is delayed by late arrivals, the entire day at the clinic gets disrupted.
No-shows are patients who miss their appointments without even notifying their dentists in advance.
But why are some patients compelled to do so?
Statistics have shown that a lot of participants claimed lack of respect in healthcare as the main reason for not showing up. Many patients believe that hospital staff does not respect enough their time, feedback and feelings.
Poor customer experience is usually what causes more no-shows. When patients expect bad service, they end up missing their appointments for good.
We cannot ignore patients who find themselves in need of urgent treatment. The last thing you want to do when you’re in pain is spend hours, if not days, waiting in a queue. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens when we’re talking about hospitals with ineffective queuing systems.
A survey of physician practices found that for a new patient to get an appointment, the average wait across five medical departments was 18 days. That’s almost three weeks wait of time! In some cases, this period is even longer.
While there are ways to distinguish your needs as urgent or non-urgent, this is still a system that just doesn’t work for all patients.
Considering the Benefits of Walk-in Patients
The entire debate about walk-ins versus appointments is based on one assumption — that walk-ins are said to cause a lot of chaos and confusion. This may be partially true. But walk-ins can only be chaotic if you mismanage it.
There is a simple way to automate your hospital queue management. You can use queuing software that allow patients to self-register, gives patients waiting in line clear information about expected wait-times, and allows hospitals to gather valuable data.