Physician offices in the U.S. have cut wait times for patient visits by five minutes in the past year, according to a new report.
MGMA reports in its latest Practice Operations Survey of more than 1,200 practices that patients wait an average of 20 minutes from the time they enter the waiting room to when the physician or other clinician sees them in the exam room. The wait is even shorter for hospital-owned practices, with an average wait of 17 minutes.
However, physician-owned practices still do better accommodating patient visits by being able to schedule an appointment within an average of three days. By comparison, hospital-owned practices can schedule an appointment within five days.
The survey also asked about use of patient portals, finding that hospital-owned practices have seen more success persuading patients to use the online technology to get test results, pay their bill, communicate with staff, or schedule appointments. About 30 percent of patients who visit these practices use the portals, compared with up to 15 percent for practices owned by physicians. Primary care practices have had the most success compared with other specialties with 35 percent of patients using the portal.
For more tips on reducing wait times in your practice: Three Building Blocks for Improving Access to Care.
For help connecting patients to your portal: Removing Six Key Barriers to Online Portal Use.
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