In a virtual waiting room patients can wait in their car until they receive a text when they can be taken to an exam room, minimizing the amount of physical contact
Although it may be tempting to push for turning the clock back to how things were done prior to the pandemic, one change from the pandemic that should stay in place involves COVID-19 safety protocols for patients and health care workers, such as the virtual waiting room.
Virtual waiting rooms — in which patients wait in their cars, outside the office, until they receive a text that it is their turn to see the doctor — are effective in maintaining social distancing and minimizing contact within the waiting room and front reception desk of the doctor’s office. In fact, a recent marketing survey showed that patients were strongly in favor of keeping virtual waiting rooms in place as the country moves forward in recovering from the pandemic.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the survey data and what it might mean for your day-to-day office operations, in terms of patient interactions, COVID safety protocols and bringing about a virtual waiting room.
Breaking down the virtual waiting room
The survey of 2,400 people was done for Lifelink Systems, a tech company that specializes in creating patient interface platforms for health care providers. You can find an infographic showing some of the highlights here. The survey was conducted to gather patient input on virtual waiting rooms, which are online platforms that allow patients to check in using their mobile device.
They will then wait in their car until they receive a text when they can be taken to an exam room. A virtual waiting room minimizes the amount of physical contact not only between patients and health care workers, but also between individual patients.
Data from the survey
More than 75% of survey respondents rated the traditional waiting room experience as either fair or poor. In contrast, 81% wanted virtual tools used during the pandemic, such as virtual waiting rooms, to become a standard part of the health care system, once the entire country opens back up after the pandemic. Almost all of those surveyed (91%) would continue to use a virtual waiting room service, if it was offered to them.
When asked why they preferred virtual waiting rooms to traditional ones, 55% of respondents thought it would help them avoid coming in contact with other patients who may be contagious. Most of those surveyed (84%) also thought that a virtual waiting room and check-in process would be an excellent means of scheduling and arranging COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Survey respondents noted other benefits to virtual waiting rooms, including efficiency (56%), not needing to arrive early (53%), less paperwork to fill out after arrival (53%), and avoiding delays in the waiting room until they were called back (50%).
Certainly, there are some parts of the pandemic we will be glad to put behind us, such as being isolated from friends and family, as well as balancing working from home with homeschooling our kids. However, virtual waiting rooms are part of the pandemic that can stick around to help streamline the administrative end of your office.