Minimising waiting room anxiety for a positive patient experience

positive experience in waiting areaNick Russon explores new ways to help reduce patient anxiety whilst they’re in the waiting room.

Consider this – what defines a patient’s satisfaction levels for a visit to your practice? It would be correct to assume that the clinical session has a significant influence on this. It’s misguided to think the foundation laid before the clinical session doesn’t have a bearing on the overall satisfaction. And therefore the potential for negative patient anxiety is high in the waiting room.

So how do we ensure this section of the patient journey is as positive as possible?

Walk in your patient’s shoes

Take time to consider all aspects and walk in your patient’s shoes. Enter the building as they would and interact with the waiting room as they would. Are you providing an anxiety-free journey, and if not what simple changes can improve things?

Distraction with information is a key tool to use when managing anxiety levels. Many practices achieve this by playing soothing music or installing a television on the wall. This helps keep anxiety levels down.

Think about the kind of information you are providing within your waiting room. Ask yourself – is it entertaining, educational, and engaging? Will it distract your patient and reduce their anxiety? Will they learn something about oral health or the services you provide? Is it easy for them to take on board?

Out of date magazines are a thing of the past (excuse the pun). Delivering information using technology your patients are familiar with, for example a well-placed television screen in the waiting room, is a simple and effective way to achieve the above. If the content on that television screen encourages your patient to initiate a conversation with practice staff there is a positive benefit for both your patient and your practice.

In many practices, television screens in waiting areas simply show daytime television. Whilst this ticks the box of entertaining your patient, it doesn’t provide any education or engagement. Why would patients discuss dental-related health or services that the practice offers?

Improving your waiting room

A much better solution is to implement a dedicated and configurable solution, such as Picbox from Medivision. Solutions such as these allow practice owners and managers to build video playlists. The content is also entertaining, educational, and engaging. Most importantly, it is personalised to your practice. You create and manage playlists from any internet-connected device. Creativity can happen away from the pressures of the day to day practice waiting room.

The video playlist provides an opportunity to showcase your staff, build brand awareness and deliver oral health advice such as the early signs of oral cancer. They can highlight specific practice information, such as the use of electronic forms. Or build reputation by displaying reviews from social media or your own patient video testimonials.

Display high quality entertaining content in your waiting room from manufacturers of alignment, whitening, sleep apnoea, facial rejuvenation and other systems. Augment these with information related to your own practice healthcare professionals and the services they provide.

Waiting room television is a great way to pass on information that is sometimes uncomfortable to discuss, such as patient finance. Approval for patient finance is now often available during the same visit. This can trigger patients to enquire about elective treatments they have been considering, such as facial rejuvenation or tooth whitening. Ask yourself, are your patients even aware that your practice offers these elective treatments?

Grab the opportunity

Sometimes our vision is clouded. It is easy to overlook an opportunity to make simple changes in your waiting room that will have a positive effect on patient satisfaction, practice reputation and profitability.

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