Twenty-four. Forty-eight. Seventy-two.
Baptist Health, St. Vincent, Aurora, Reading, Butler, Park West, St. Alexius, Evergreen, Anchor, Hoag, Sindecuse, Grady, Lubbock, Bradford, Eau Claire, Texas Women’s, Temple, Crozer, St. Mary’s, Veractiy, Eisenhower, St. Peters, Wheaton, Hillcrest, Methodist, Reading, Unity Point…and that is the point.
It took less than a minute to find health systems whose contact us form on their website indicated that someone would respond to a person’s request within 24, or 48, or 72 hours.
If you do not hear from us within that time please call us. Some systems only promise to reply to your phone call within that same period. For one of my clients, ninety-nine percent of the people who called to speak with a clinician had their call transferred voice mail. The voice mail message stated someone would return his or her call within 48-72 hours.
The Saturn rocket made it to the moon within that same number of hours.
Whether the total time it takes to answer someone’s question is a minute or an hour, the extra hours or days that elapse between the time the request is made and the time the answer is provided are harmful to the patients, the prospective patients, and the providers.
I am sure that the organizations who added a Contact Us section to their website did so because they were trying to be helpful.
Look at the issue from the perspective of the person requesting help from your system. Whether they are asking about a refill, scheduling an appointment, or a billing question, making them wait a day or two for a reply crushes their perspective of how important they are to your system.
In two hours an individual could have gone to the Minute Clinic, received a prescription, and been seen in urgent care. Or, they could simply have decided to go to your ED.
Since it takes no longer to answer the question the moment it is asked than it takes to answer it two days later, why not implement online chat on your website? And while you are at it, add a click-to-call button on the site.