Patient count tags help to manage patient expectations by giving patients an objective measure of how busy the facility is in real-time. While they do not equate to a specific wait time, the count gives them their place in line and shows their progress toward getting treated. Because wait times change quickly and often reflect an individual patient's medical needs, patient count provides a measure that patients and staff find easier to digest than wait times.
To learn how to technically implement the patient count tag public API, please refer to this article: Patients-in-Line & Patients-in-Treatment Code Guide.
This article will go over the nuances of the various Patient Count Tags.
Table of Contents:
What do these tags mean and when do I use them?
We have three tags designed for telling patients their place in line at the moment they sign in:
- PATIENT_COUNT_STATUS_ACTIVE_ALL - Returns the number of patients that are "active" in the entire queue, regardless of what day they signed in. This tag is best used in the walk-in confirmation text (ID 1 or 2) or the online arrival text (ID 24). This tag should be used by 24/7 facilities because they often have patients who may stay in the queue across multiple days (for example, the patient signs in at 11:35 pm and remains in the queue until 9:00 am the following day).
- PATIENT_COUNT_STATUS_ACTIVE_TODAY - Returns the number of patients that are "active" in the queue today. This tag is best used in the walk-in confirmation text (ID 1 or 2) or the online arrival text (ID 24). We recommend this tag for non-24x7 facilities (e.g., urgent care clinics that open 8a - 8p) since they typically do not have patients who stay in the queue spanning multiple days.
- PATIENT_COUNT_STATUS_NEW - Returns the number of patients that are "active" in the "New Patient" column (the first column on the left). This tag is best used in the walk-in confirmation text (ID 1 or 2) or the online arrival text (ID 24). We recommend this tag if you want just count patients in your waiting room and exclude those who are in an exam room.
Additionally, you can use the "place in line tag" to update patients on their place in line (aka "are we there yet, Dad?")
PLACE_IN_LINE - Returns the number of "active" patients that submitted reservations before you and are still waiting.
- Patients trigger thisi update by texting "0."
- The system automatically responds with an update.
- This number will decrease as patients in front of them are discharged. We suggest you add verbiage to your confirmation texts to let patients know that they can text "0" to find out their place in line
- Patients can text "0" as often as they want, but the system will respond at a maximum of once every ten minutes.
- To edit the automated "place in line" text, use alert template ID 63.
Which patients are included and excluded in the patient count?
|Placeholder Tag||New-Arrived||Online-Home||RFR||In Treatment||Reservation Date Yesterday or Earlier||Reservation Date Tomorrow or Later|
What do these tags look like from the patient's perspective?
Here is an example of a veterinarian clinic that inserted the PLACE_IN_LINE tag into their walk-in confirmation message (Alert ID 2). They also added verbiage letting patients know they can "Reply "0" to get an update on your place in line".
Here is an image of the patient replying "0" to see their place in line. Since their confirmation, at least one other client had been discharged, making the number of patients in front of them go down from 5 to 4. You can edit this message in Alert ID 63.
Where can I find these tags? How do I implement it?
For the majority of use cases, you will want to add these tags to patient automated messaging (Alert Templates). These tags are usually most relevant once a patient has just submitted (for walk-ins) or confirmed their arrivals (for online check-in). We recommend adding the patient count tags to the walk-in confirmation message (Alert ID 1 or 2) and/or the online arrival text (ALert ID 24).
To find and implement these tags:
Step 1: Go to Global Settings > Alert Templates > double click on the alert template you wish to edit -> alert template modal opens up
Step 2: In the right sidebar, click on Facility Information -> a dropdown list with the tags will appear (as seen in the screenshot below)
Step 3: Click on the tag to insert it into your alert template. Click Save once you are finished editing.