Let’s face it: We don’t like to wait. Whenever I’m standing in a line, I start fantasizing about what I would do to change the processes so things would move faster. I find myself examining different steps in the process and counting. My own mini time and motion study…conducted mainly to pass the time and keep me from getting more frustrated.
Waiting is a form of waste. Anyone in manufacturing will tell you that waiting doesn’t just waste time, it costs money.
Toyota pioneered methods of production that allowed parts to be delivered to factories just-in-time with a continuously sought goal of zero waiting at each step in the car building process. Some big brand names made their mark by reducing the need to wait for their products. Think Netflix streaming (immediate), Domino’s Pizza (30 minutes) and Amazon Prime delivery (1-2 days).
The same concept applies to medical practices as well.
Waiting + Activity = Activity
Technology has changed our expectations about time and how we live, especially in communication. Mobile phones, texting and email bring an immediacy to communication that wasn’t available a generation ago. Except perhaps for the birth of a child (still takes 9 months) the blossom of a flower, or other special moments that just cannot be rushed, we want what we want when we want it. Which, in most cases, is NOW.
This modern reality should serve as a siren call to anybody in the service business. Your ability to reduce and eliminate the need for your customer to wait provides competitive advantage. This is especially true for doctors and their medical practices.
In my new book Beyond Bedside Manner, I proclaim that it is indeed time to “Blow Up the Waiting Room” as a means of re-thinking the patient experience. Imagine naming a room for what you expect your customers to do until you are ready for them. That’s a holdover from an earlier era and, in my humble opinion, a sign of disrespect for the customer.
Ready to Eliminate the Wait?
Along with my colleagues Bernie Haffey and Lewis Baloian, I offer tools to help doctors reduce wait times in their practice, including time spent waiting to see the doctor and overall appointment time.
You can learn more at www.eliminatewait.com
In the meantime, here’s a tip of the cap to legendary rocker Tom Petty. He was right. Waiting is hard. It sucks, both figuratively and literally, as waiting is a form of waste that cannot be retrieved. I’m game to do something about it and help medical practices adopt tools and techniques to get rid of waiting, beginning with changing the name of the first room people enter when they come to your practice. Are you with me?