Over the years, technology has dramatically improved the healthcare system. Not only has it provided practitioners with innovative solutions for developing safer medical procedures, tests, and studies, but it also has allowed them to use visitor management tools to enhance the patient experience.
From scheduling appointments to gathering information and tracking foot traffic, these systems help healthcare providers streamline and automate processes that mitigate risk and safeguard their facilities.
What Are Visitor Management Tools?
Healthcare providers can use visitor management tools to improve the overall experience for their patients by assisting them with scheduling an appointment and accommodating them when they arrive for an in-office visit. These tools include all the systems, processes, and applications needed to manage the doctor-patient relationship and can be used to capture, research, and analyze information about a patient's behavior.
Visitor management tools are used in a variety of healthcare settings, including the following:
- Clinics and medical offices
- Ambulatory surgical centers (also called outpatient surgical facilities)
- Birth centers
- Blood banks
- Dialysis centers
- Rehabilitation centers
- Urgent care offices
- Telehealth services
- And more.
Effective visitor management tools enable practitioners to offer quality service to their patients, ensuring their services meet patient standards. Additionally, they offer insight into opportunities for improvement within the healthcare sector. In industries outside of healthcare, visitor management solutions are often referred to as "customer management tools" and include systems such as Ombori Grid.
Effective Visitor Management Tools
Different visitor management tools offer different solutions and can be leveraged to improve a visitor's experience in various ways. Here are the most effective visitor management tools used in today's healthcare industry:
Appointment Booking Solutions
Appointment booking solutions offer the ability for patients to book an appointment online. This software also allows users to manage or cancel appointments on the same web-based interface or application. Appointment booking software can vary from one provider to the next, depending on the healthcare facility's needs, and users can change the associated features as needed. Effective booking solutions, such as Ombori Grid Appointment Scheduling, offer the following features: flexibility and customization, calendar syncing, convenient access, communication, and integrated payment methods.
In any healthcare setting, scheduling appointments can be a full-time job. Not only do schedulers have to consider different types of professionals, such as doctors, physician assistants, and nurses, but they also have to assess the required time allotted for an appointment, which depends on the reason for the visit and can vary from patient to patient. Appointment booking solutions allow healthcare operations to navigate these challenges by integrating the calendars of all professionals and creating blocked scheduling for specific medical procedures.
Queue Management Systems
As defined in the post Why Queue Management Systems Are Essential for Modern Businesses, "Queue management systems ... help businesses address and improve productivity and turnover, all while improving client satisfaction." A queue management system creates order for patients waiting in line and spurs necessary actions to streamline the check-in process and render it more effective.
These systems, such as the Ombori Grid Queue Management Solution, leverage technology to reduce lines and improve visitors' overall experience. Four main features help to streamline the queuing process:
- Check-In: The visitor checks in via a digital platform. They can check-in prior to their arrival and avoid having to enter the building until necessary.
- Confirmation: The visitor receives a notice that they have been added to a virtual queue, which is similar to an actual queue in the provider's office but offers visitors the comfort of waiting outside and avoiding crowded waiting rooms.
- Notification: Once it is the visitor's turn, they receive a notification via SMS or text that they should check in for their appointment. They can then head to the provider's office and get started.
- Arrival: Upon arrival, the visitor shows the staff their check-in information. Staff then escort the visitor to an examination room where they see the healthcare provider. All paperwork is completed before the actual visit, streamlining the process for both the visitor and healthcare staff.
This type of system eliminates the need for visitors to wait in traditional queues in crowded areas and offers them increased safety and peace of mind. It also simplifies operations for the healthcare facility.
Managing the number of people who enter a healthcare facility is essential since patients can be contagious. Therefore, visitors must be cautious and determine the most effective way to safely navigate crowded locations such as clinics, hospitals, and similar sites. People counters, including the Ombori People Counter, provide a solution to this problem. These systems create a safe environment for everyone by tracking foot traffic into and out of a location.
The Ombori People Counter solution uses cameras to tally people entering and leaving a building without any human intervention. Even if visitors can enter or leave through more than one doorway, the system automatically counts the total number of people in the building.
In addition, people counters can provide healthcare facilities with important visitor traffic data. Since healthcare facilities witness high foot traffic daily, this data can be used to understand better how their facilities are used, thus improving the visitor experience and optimizing business operations.
Benefits of Visitor Management Tools
Visitor management tools, such as booking solutions, queue management systems, and people counters offer numerous benefits to customers, healthcare workers, and healthcare practices. Here are some of the most common advantages of using such tools.
- Fewer customer complaints: Visitors value their time, and reduced wait times are likely to translate into greater customer satisfaction. When people feel as though their time is being respected, they are less likely to complain. Additionally, queue management solutions offer transparency, which helps to improve the customer experience. Visitors receive insight into wait times, thereby decreasing their anxiety regarding potentially long lines.
- Minimized wait times: The organization provided by a queue management system reduces visitor wait times. Healthcare staff can gather required information and complete the necessary paperwork before a patient's visit, expediting the entire process. In some cases, this solution eliminates waiting.
- The virtual check-in process and no physical queues: Digital solutions integrated with queue management solutions allow patients to check-in virtually for an appointment prior to arrival. They can then wait for their appointment in the setting of their choice and enter the office only when they are ready to be seen. In environments such as hospitals and clinics, this function is critical for limiting a patient's risk of exposure.
- Increased staff productivity: Queue management systems allow healthcare providers to streamline the administrative work associated with each visitor. They allow all patients and staff to complete and file paperwork digitally, and they offer a transparent view of visitor information to all staff. Because the check-in process has been expedited, staff have more time to work on other patient-focused tasks.
- Adherence to occupancy regulations: Healthcare operations can remain aligned with occupancy restrictions, including those set by insurance companies, fire officials, or other agencies. Additionally, people counters help these operations ensure the safety of visitors while the COVID-19 pandemic continues and social distancing remains the norm.
- Optimal staff planning: Understanding traffic flow within a location can help managers schedule staff appropriately. By using people counters, managers can assess peak hours and ensure enough people are scheduled to work, which results in an enhanced customer experience.
- Improved business reviews: Even in a medical setting, physicians and healthcare providers often find a business through references and referrals. Therefore, they need to maintain a positive image to ensure customer flow. By using visitor management tools to streamline operations and decrease customer complaints, healthcare professionals can improve their reputation in the community.
- Helpful analytics: Both the Ombori Queue Management Solution and People Counter Solution offer the ability for healthcare establishments to collect and analyze pertinent data related to their operations. These analytics offer insight into trends and patterns in patient behavior. For example, hospitals can learn when the majority of patients are admitted to the emergency room, or practitioners can evaluate the most frequently requested appointment times in their office. These patterns can help healthcare providers adjust their operations to ensure their patients' and visitors' ongoing satisfaction and safety.
With hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities focusing more on the patient experience, many adopt visitor management tools and practices to enhance the overall check-in process and keep staff and patients safe. In addition, these solutions provide healthcare professionals with valuable data about patient trends. As we continue to navigate the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital to maintain social distance and ensure the safety of everyone, especially in a medical setting, and visitor management solutions allow healthcare facilities to do this with ease.
Björn is Chief Experience Officer of Ombori Grid. He spent the early part of his career in the music business before moving into retail design and video production. His passion is for creating unique and memorable retail experiences that excite and delight customers. He spent 6 years at Visual Art in Stockholm before joining Ombori in 2018.