Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more.
June 10, 2016
I have written this in the past and I’ll write it again: For every minute that one waits, one also stops engaging in anything but the wait.
William James, an American philosopher and psychologist who was also trained as a physician wrote that “Boredom is spending time focusing solely on time.”
Waiting is the curse of modern day healthcare.
The banking, entertainment, and retail industries are far more advanced in their thinking about waiting than the healthcare industry. Healthcare would do well to learn from them, because the same people who are stuck in line at the bank are also stuck waiting in clinics, emergency rooms, and urgent care centers.
The single concept makes the most sense and has driven the most effective changes in the waiting experience for those industries is: Design the waiting experience into the whole customer experience.
What does this mean for physicians’ offices and clinics? Here are a few ideas:
And what about longer-term waiting in a hospital, such as in an ICU or labor and delivery? Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY, recently created a Friends and Family Lounge for its ICU – a healing environment with amenities that address the needs a family may face in a time of trauma.
The new lounge features two private consultation rooms, two enclosed rooms with sleeping couches, a small kitchen with a nutrition station, and a locker room with a shower.
The television in the waiting room is a fickle friend. No matter what you broadcast, it will not please everyone and sometimes not anyone.
Nonetheless, the TV dominates the room because it is seen and heard by everyone. It’s content can be controversial, and those who wait make up a diverse and often irreconcilable group.
Keep this in mind as you are choosing what type of programming to broadcast in your waiting areas. And remember, the news of the day is often disturbing and does not help those who are already anxious or suffering.
Without question, expectations rule satisfaction. Therefore, setting expectations in a way that you can exceed them is the best strategy when it comes to waiting.
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