Clinics: Your Visitors are Sick of Sitting, but not Sick of Great Experiences & Doctors

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I was home with a sore throat, feet kicked up in front of the TV when I saw a news report saying that the flu vaccine may not protect you from the flu this year.  “Great,” I thought as I started to cough, “don’t they have enough experts working on these things?  I mean the flu comes every year and affects millions of people!”

“I better go to the doctor,” I thought but it was the weekend and my doctor’s office was closed and even if it was open I don’t know that I would have gone because of the wait.  I mean when you’re sick who feels like waiting 45 minutes to an hour and the same goes for the hospital where your wait could be 2-4 hours.  “I’ll just go to CVS,” I thought and get something over the counter medicine.  As I walked into CVS I read the sign to myself out loud, “CVS MinuteClinic? Why I haven’t I gone to one of these before?”, I thought, this is just what I need, I could be seen without a wait. I will definitely be back.

Well, the first thing I did was go online to investigate CVS Caremark Corp., which has about 630 MinuteClinics and is opening about 3 new clinics a week.  And you guessed it, their main selling point is in the name, MinuteClinic.  The pitch is you can get in and out in a minute. Now that is indeed an exaggeration but an effective one. People want healthcare fast and easy these days.  They are not the only ones seeing this trend.

According to an article written by Hospital & Health Networks they state, “the days of the patient being patient are over. As wait time increases, patient satisfaction drops. That fact becomes more significant because reimbursement is tied to HCAHPS surveys. Today’s health care users want instant satisfaction, and they’re scouring the Web looking for the hospital that will give it to them. With this growing consumer-mindedness, coupled with payments tied to the patient experience, hospital leaders are working overtime to address pesky wait times throughout the health care system.” 

Suggestions for Clinic Wait reduction

In that article several things were suggested to reduce wait time for patients. Interacting with different modalities when they arrive, then to an employee that hands badges to patients entering to keep tabs on their movement and learn when their care stalls along the way.  According to the article, “It is working at some sites the results have been remarkable thus far, on average, physicians see patients in 30 minutes or less and the rate of patients who ‘left without having been seen” has dropped from more than 7 percent at some sites to less than 2 percent.”

Yes, more information lowers waits. How does an average clinic, and doctors office get advanced wait data? Well, Lineapple is a great alternative to the $25,000 to almost $1 million dollar systems. Lineapple fees are from $25 to $100 a month for a clinic.

The Better Way to Wait

The problem is that most, if not all, of these options outside of Lineapple, in my opinion, would involve additional staff, less doctors more nurse practitioners, and upgrades in technology that would involve a considerable cost. There has got to be a way to improve the wait time in a more cost efficient way. Clinics meet Lineapple, Lineapple meet clinics. Lineapple would provide seemingly the same service waits to be seen without actual waiting. The benefit of using Lineapple is you can run a more professional practice, without limiting care.

Many minute clinics do the wait shell game where they usher you to another room fast so you get the sensation you are moving faster. Lineapple makes it so you have accurate information and service right when you expect it.

Doctor's Office

The clinics when they don’t have enough space they stop people, it is not an unlimited supply of service. There is also some criticism. Now we at Lineapple applaud any efforts to make things faster we only point these things out so that people know that there are challenges with each service offering. Wikipedia noted:

Doctors acknowledge that Minute Clinics and other retail-based clinics are convenient. They admit that the clinics are cutting into their own income. However, doctors are trying to build a relationship with their patients, meet them regularly, and follow up on problems. The clinics interfere with that relationship and fragment health care. Furthermore, said pediatrician Claire McCarthy, “Sometimes a minor thing isn’t so minor.” The clinics do not have the patient’s medical record, and do not know the history. A swollen knee, if it is part of a pattern, might be a sign of arthritis.[1] The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents do not use retail-based clinics for their children.[2]

1  Why doctors worry about Minute Clinics–and what they should learn from them Claire McCarthy , Boston Globe, February 24, 2014

2 “From the American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement. AAP Principles Concerning Retail-Based Clinics.”. Pediatrics 133 (3): e794–e797. March 1, 2014. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-4080

The most advanced and meaningful way to get rid of the problem is to make the experience more patient friendly and keep the patient in the loop from wherever they wish to be. Fast clinics are the equivalent of fast food to fix long waits at restaurants. Instead of that how about call me when my table is ready so I can leave my home or friends house with no wait. Better food is worth the wait. We believe at Lineapple better doctors are worth the NO Wait! Look into Lineapple it could help you compete with Minute Clinics.