HealthWare Systems Blog
on Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Waiting Room Anxiety
Waiting room anxiety is a very real, very negative, experience for patients’ family members who accompany patients to the hospital. Much of waiting room anxiety stems from uncertainty: uncertainty about how long they’ll be waiting, uncertainty about the details of a procedure, and, most stressful, uncertainty about the outcome for their family member.
Some of this uncertainty is due to a lack of or inadequate information from the clinicians or healthcare facility. Of course hospitals must adhere to HIPAA guidelines concerning patient confidentiality, but there are areas in which communication with patients’ family members can be improved.
For example, a study published by The Permanente Journal revealed that patients’ family members are often mistaken about how long a surgical procedure will take because they fail to factor in preoperative preparation and postoperative recovery times. When they don’t get to see their family member as soon as they anticipated, their anxiety increases and they can become confused, scared, and upset (emotions you’d like to keep out of your waiting room).
Lowering Waiting Room Anxiety with a Patient Tracking Board
A patient tracking board can go a long way in curbing these emotions because it provides those waiting with their family member’s status at each stage (e.g. “in prep,” “in surgery,” “in recovery”) of the encounter. Confidentiality is maintained with alphanumeric identifiers.
Family members can get information in real-time, keeping their waiting room anxiety at bay in between face-to-face updates from clinicians which can become too infrequent (or non-existent) in a busy facility. Plus, it eliminates any added anxiety patients’ family members may face if they must leave the waiting area and worry about missing their chance to hear from a clinician; the patient tracking board is continuously available to them when they return.
Improving the patient experience includes helping patients’ family members feel as comfortable as possible; what better way to begin than by lowering their waiting room anxiety? Besides, if family members leave your hospital having had a positive experience, they will be more likely to choose your facility for their own medical needs in the future.
Read here how a New York teaching hospital used a patient tracking board and patient tracking system to create a better experience for patients’ family members, reduce wait times, and increase patient satisfaction scores to 4.5 out of 5 points.