NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Few things are as aggravating as being forced to sit indefinitely in the waiting room when visiting the doctor, but now one online application is offering a remedy.
Doctor’s offices can update the estimated wait time using MedWaitTime, an online service that will then send email or text alerts to patients who sign up on the site and enter in their appointment information.
MedWaitTime is free and requires little effort from doctors and patients. All the doctor’s office needs to do is select one of three options to indicate the approximate wait time: green (no to short wait), yellow (moderate wait) and red (high wait). The doctor’s staff can stop there or also include a message explaining the reason behind the wait time and what patients can expect later in the day, with the idea that more transparency will lead to a better patient experience.
Meanwhile patients can either wait for updates to be sent their way after signing up, or check the website to review the wait status as they see fit. The service also lets patients see the wait times at hospitals and find out which doctors accept walk-ins so that you can determine the best place to go last-minute. MedWaitTime also offers a free iPhone app to make it even easier to check this information on the go.Several other apps and websites serve a similar function for restaurant and even theme park wait times, but this service is arguably even more needed in a doctor’s office where you’re more anxious, you’re generally taking time off from work, and where the wait can be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.
Of course, MedWaitTime is only as good as the number of doctors and hospitals that decide to use it, but just as with any traditional retailer, physicians should have an incentive to be more open about wait times to boost customer satisfaction and keep their patients coming back.