Retail clinics offer numerous benefits over traditional hospitals. They’re often easier to visit, more affordable and accessible to a broader group of patients. That’s why experts project the demand for these facilities to grow significantly in the coming years.
But top-tier hospitals still have the majority of retail clinics beat in a few key areas. One of these is waiting rooms.
Your retail clinic doesn’t have to sit back and allow itself to get beat in this important area. There are steps you can take today to start running your waiting room like it’s in a top-tier hospital. Keep reading to learn how.
What makes a great waiting room?
The very best hospitals and retail clinics stand out from the competition by focusing on things that promote a better patient experience, such as waiting rooms.
But what exactly does a great waiting room look like? There are three main categories that you’ll want to focus on while revamping yours.
Spending a ton of time in a waiting room is something that nobody looks forward to. But the best hospitals minimize the pain of that experience for their patients by making their waiting rooms more comfortable to be in.
There are a few different ways to do this, including:
- Providing your patients with comfortable places to sit
- Creating seating clusters where families can wait together in semi-privacy
- Offering patients a source of entertainment, such as streaming video content through digital signage
- Adding a dedicated area for children to play
Top-tier hospitals also make their waiting rooms stand out by making them as efficient as possible. This means minimizing the amount of time that patients need to sit idly in them.
The best way to do that is by reducing the amount of time that it takes for a patient to go from walking into the waiting room to seeing a doctor.
This means optimizing both your check-in process and your scheduling to ensure that patients flow from check-in to the doctor’s office as quickly as possible.
Waiting rooms in top-tier hospitals are also informative. They provide patients with easily accessible information about wait times, check-in procedures and the healthcare facility’s most important offerings.
How to run your retail clinic’s waiting room like a top-tier hospital
We talked in the previous section about the three areas that you want to focus on to turn your retail healthcare clinic’s waiting room into something that resembles what a patient would find in a top-tier hospital.
Now let’s look at some more specific examples of practical actions you can take to improve in those important areas.
Create a smooth flow of traffic with digital check-in kiosks
The check-in process often becomes a bottleneck in retail healthcare clinics. You may only have one or two administrative staff members working at any given time.
This can quickly create situations where patients are having to wait just to check themselves in so that they can wait even longer to see a doctor.
Adding digital check-in kiosks to your retail healthcare clinic could solve this problem. These allow patients to check themselves into your clinic so that your administrative staff is free to focus on other important matters that can help to reduce your wait times.
Keep your patients entertained with streaming video content
Another great way to improve your waiting room is to start displaying streaming video content to keep patients entertained. You can do this through your existing waiting room TVs. Things like movies and TV shows help the time pass by faster.
The easiest way to share this type of content with your patients is through digital signage software like UPshow. With our software, you’ll get access to over 500 channels of streaming entertainment so there will always be something enjoyable for those in your waiting area to watch.
Tell your patients about the latest community health information
If patients are going to be in your waiting area anyway, then you might as well use the opportunity to keep them informed about the latest health information in your community.
For example, when flu season arrives, you can share information about what community members can do to reduce their risk of getting the flu.
You may also want to share information about the symptoms of common illnesses in your community. Doing this can help you create a more informed group of patients, which could help them remain healthier throughout the year.
Invest in the right technology
Technology can significantly improve the quality of your retail clinic’s waiting area. Make the right investments and they should pay for themselves by increasing your patient satisfaction ratings.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box here. Things like telemedicine aren’t directly related to your waiting room but could make your waiting area a better place to be by reducing traffic in it.
Use your waiting room to market your retail clinic and its offerings
You can also use your waiting room to perform in-venue marketing for the services that your retail healthcare clinic offers. This can be a great way to expand the business you get, especially since many patients don’t realize how many different aspects of healthcare they can get assistance with at a retail clinic.
If you use digital software from UPshow, you’ll be able to easily create your own customized advertisements. You will even be able to share them in place of the commercials that would usually show up in between the streaming video content that you display in your waiting area.
The cleanliness of your waiting area is another factor that’s correlated with patient satisfaction. People who visit retail healthcare clinics expect to be in a sterile environment. They don’t want to have to worry about being around germs while waiting to see a doctor.
Install digital signage
Digital signage is like a silver bullet that will help you solve many of the most common problems with retail healthcare clinic waiting areas. Installing it in your clinic will make it much easier for you to:
- Keep your patients entertained
- Share important information with them
- Enable your patients to check themselves into their appointments
- Advertise your services
Cutting down wait times in your retail clinic’s waiting room
Wait time is a key metric for determining the overall experience that a patient has in your waiting room. So if you can reduce yours, your waiting area will automatically become closer to what a patient expects from a top-tier hospital.
The good news is that there are tons of different ways for you to go about achieving this. Here are some ideas:
- Have administrative staff share patient information with doctors before they arrive
- Set up a secure messaging system so that doctors can communicate with patients before and after they arrive at your clinic
- Optimize your scheduling to ensure a smooth flow of traffic
- Consider offering an ‘express care’ option for certain types of visits
- Remind your patients that they can call ahead of time to assess the day’s wait times
You don’t have to begin doing all of these things at once. But adding even a few of these features to your retail healthcare clinic could help to bring wait times down and patient satisfaction up.
Increasing waiting room engagement
Sometimes improving the quality of your waiting area doesn’t require wholesale changes. You may be able to make significant progress in this area by simply improving the patient engagement that you offer in your waiting room.
This means turning your waiting room into an extension of the care that you offer your patients. By doing this, you can help to make a patient’s waiting time feel like it’s worth more than just wasted time.
There are lots of different ways to engage with your patients.
For example, you can do it by teaching them about common healthcare issues through digital signage. Or you could share inspirational messages to help motivate them to take better care of their health.
Think about this like having a conversation with your patients through the types of messages that you display in your waiting room. Sharing dynamic, engaging content will make your waiting area a better place to be.
Digital signage is your solution for a better waiting room
All of the ideas covered in this article can help you provide a better waiting room for your patients. But many of the solutions will be easier for your healthcare clinic to embrace if you first add digital signage to your waiting area.
Digital signage is easier to set up than you think. You can turn whatever existing screens you have in your waiting area into digital signage with the right software.
It’s why you should really consider checking out UPshow’s digital signage solution. Our software makes it much easier for retail clinics to keep patients informed, engaged, and entertained.
But don’t just take our word for it. You can schedule a free custom demo with us today to get a firsthand look at the types of customized solutions we can offer your retail clinic.