Monday, September 15th, 2014 .

Being sick is no fun for anyone. And when you are sick, one of the top things on your mind is how to get better as soon as possible. It isn’t surprising that having to wait to talk to a physician can be a frustrating experience, but ProHealth Care Medical Associates found that using Waitlist to give patients a better sense of their wait made patients and physicians happier.

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ProHealth Care Medical Associates is an award-winning regional specialty and primary care system with services throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. As part of the ProHealth Care program, the system has an integrated network of closely aligned independent physicians. Services encompass nearly all aspects of health care and includes hospitals, medical clinics, home care and hospice, integrative medicine, well-being and fitness centers, and more.

The centers have eight urgent care facilities within a 25-mile radius and see patients on a walk-in basis, which means wait times to see doctors can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.

“One of the things we were hearing from our patients is that they weren’t happy with our wait times,” said Kelly Tolson, Director of Operations at ProHealth Care. “During cold and flu season, it can be anywhere from a 90 minute to two hour wait. Two hours is unacceptable.”

Tolson and ProHealth site leader, Maureen Sensiba, were looking for a way to make wait times easier to manage for patients, when they were approached by a patient who had seen the NoshList wait list app in use at a local restaurant.

“One of our patients had been added to a waitlist and notified when their table was ready at a Red Robin restaurant, and she said it was an awesome feature,” Sensiba said. “She raved about it. So afterward, I did some research on my own and contacted NoshList to see how we could make it work for our situation.”

The customer was specifically pleased with how the wait list app gave her the ability to shop while she waited for her table at Red Robin. That also caught the attention of Tolson and Sensiba, since it would be nice for patients to not have to be constrained to the waiting area.

Before getting started, the app had to be shown to the company’s patient experience officer and corporate compliance officer attorney to ensure the app wasn’t in violation of any patient privacy issues. Because the app only shows patient initials, it does not violate HIPPA rules or any other privacy rule, and Tolson was given the ability to then launch the app at the Medical Associates Brookfield, Wisc. location.

“Brookfield was a great place to start because it’s a small community. People could go home, have lunch or run errands while they waited to be seen by a doctor and get back in a short amount of time,” Tolson said. “It has worked so well that we have expanded it to another location and have plans to roll it out to the remaining six within the next six months.”

How it works

When ProHealth first started using NoshList, it was more popularly used as an iPad app, so they had to be a little creative in getting to fit their needs for an urgent care waitlist from a computer. Tolson and Sensiba realized that they could customize the public waitlist web page and the Add Yourself feature that restaurants normally use to allow diners to add themselves to a list, and they adapted this functionality for their staff to enter the information.

The patient names are put into a computer once they arrive at the center, and they can check their place in line from a phone or computer. When other patients look at the waitlist to determine where they are in line, only the patients’ initials are visible. Then when it is a patient’s turn, the ProHealth staff uses the regular waitlist view to trigger the text and call notifications and remove people from the list.

Since that time, NoshList has added the ability to do everything in one place in the browser, and early adopters like ProHealth Care that started using the system in new ways and sending feedback helped drive these product improvements.

“It was very smart how Tolson and Sensiba figured out how to use the NoshList public waitlist page, which was designed for other purposes, to serve as a simple entry form that could be used by multiple people on computers,” said NoshList CEO, Craig Walker. “We were all very impressed at NoshList, and have been building more and more improvements into our service to make it better for cases like these and for solving the wait problem everywhere.“

While the facility operators have yet to determine how the app has impacted wait times, customers appear to be happy with the solution.

“I don’t know if their wait times have decreased, but patients are more satisfied because we are being more respectful of their time,” Sensiba said. “We know they have other things they could be doing and we’re giving them an opportunity to do those things if there is a long wait.”

The physicians also are happier.

“We expected the patients would appreciate the new waitlist options, but we didn’t anticipate that the physicians would also be happier, because the patients are happier when they get into the room,” Tolson said. “That has been a very nice surprise.”

Monday, September 8th, 2014 .

Waiting is never fun wherever you are. NoshList started as an app to help restaurants manage their waitlists and send text and phone notifications to guests when their tables were ready, and is now used by many types of businesses to improve the customer experience whenever there are waits. Here is a great example of a smart business owner at Kumon that uses NoshList not only to to shorten wait times for students ready to be picked up, but also to improve child safety, performance excellence, and business efficiencies.

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Kumon® Learning Centers have an after-school academic enrichment program designed to help children achieve more than they ever thought they could. The centers strive to teach self-learning and achievement in the academic areas of reading and math through an enrichment program that outlines steady goals for each student.

Most students spend 30-60 minutes during their individual sessions and are required to attend sessions two times a week.

“The philosophy of Kumon is to build mastery of the subject. Each subject is divided into a series of levels and each level is focused on a learning fundamental built on top of the previous ones,” said Krishnadas Kootale who partners with his wife Geeta Krishnadas as Kumon Franchise operators for the Kumon Denville – South Center in New Jersey. “Because this is a long-term program, we try to make it sustainable over the long haul.”

Each child is required to do homework and each one is given the time and patience needed to build greater mental stamina and focus. The goal, Kootale said, is to help the child build a strong foundation of knowledge and learning skills that they can carry with them throughout their academic career and beyond.

While the program is taught in a safe environment, Geeta and Kootale were a little concerned with what happens sometimes after class. While parents are required to pick up the children from the waiting area and children required to wait in the reception area until their parents arrive once a session is complete, sometimes students would leave the premises into the parking lot looking for their parents.

Since the location was near a state highway, the couple wanted to take extra steps to ensure the safety of their students. “Whenever you have kids, parking lots and roads nearby there are always safety concerns,” Kootale said. “We didn’t want the children to move around unattended.”

While thinking about solutions for the waiting children, Kootale discovered how NoshList was used by restaurants to manage their waitlists. He was able to easily check out the app, and realized it was a perfect fit for his needs.

Now, when a student checks into the Kootale’s learning center, the parent’s contact information entered into the NoshList waitlist. At that point an alert goes out to the parent providing an estimated time to session completion. This eliminates the guesswork involved for parents who may be looking to run an errand or so while their children are in class. Once a student’s session is complete, Noshlist sends a message to the parent’s phone alerting that the child is ready for pick up. Once the parent arrives at Kumon, they enter into a classroom to check out their child and then leave together.

“The primary reason we considered NoshList was to set up a check-in check out system with parent alerts to avoid children moving unattended, which was not something we wanted,” Kootale said. “Parents like the flexibility of being able to leave during their child’s session and then be alerted when the session is completed; and with Noshlist we have such a system helping us ensure that parents drop off and pick up children at the reception area.”

While using NoshList, Kootale realized there were other benefits he hadn’t originally expected. With the analytics features, they are able to track each student’s time used in the center. They then cross reference the student’s study time against their performance, which helps them improve the educational experience for that child.

“At any time, we have the live list of the students in class. Anyone who takes longer on their studies, or who finishes sooner, we have that information in real time. We use that information for class review and plan management,” Kootale said. “This real-time information is quite valuable to us.”

“It’s really a great app!” Kootale said.

 

– By Valerie Killifer, special to NoshList

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 .

When we launched NoshList in 2012, we began with a very targeted focus on the restaurant industry and a mission to solve the challenges many restaurants face in managing long wait lines. And it worked. Customizable, easy-to-use and affordable, our wait list app enhanced the customer experience and quickly replaced the antiquated pen and paper lists for our customers.

Over the past two years, NoshList has been used to seat more than 45 million diners, and the new reservations feature helps with a whole new set of scheduling challenges that restaurants face.

Along the way though, we realized that NoshList can be used in a host of other industries. Other types of businesses started using NoshList in ways we hadn’t originally expected, and as they did they asked us for ways to better customize the product for their situations. So little by little we started adding more customization features, and now all kinds of businesses are using NoshList to improve their customers’ wait experience.

Since NoshList can be used on iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, other mobile devices, and even computers, the app can be used just about anywhere. All that’s needed is an Internet connection and a desire to make waits more bearable for customers.

Afterall, when a customer is waiting on anything — from a lane at the bowling alley to a rented boat — the wait can be like an extreme lesson in patience. NoshList works as a way to communicate with waiting parties that their lane, boat or other item is ready.

How about waiting in line for a dressing room? With NoshList, shoppers can simply add their name to the list and then continue to shop while they wait for their dressing room. Once it’s ready, they will receive a text notifying them they’re next in line. It’s the ultimate win-win.

The same ideas apply to anywhere there might be a wait — at the pharmacy, the automotive repair center, the doctor’s office or hair salon and spa.

There are few simple things businesses in other industries can do to best use NoshList. The main thing is to customize the texts that go out when a person is added to any type of wait list and when they are notified. NoshList users can also choose from a number of automated call options. Then for more personalization a business can pre-define the list of the most common notes to appear in the app with the QuickNotes feature. Finally, table numbers can be modified to represent what makes sense for a business. These numbers could represent a salesperson, chair number, rental ID or whatever resource is assigned to your customers.

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To learn more, check out our new page on how NoshList is being for different business waitlists across the country.

Monday, August 11th, 2014 .

While most of the places that use NoshList are restaurants, we have seen more and more businesses from different industries use NoshList to manage customer waits. The addition of our new reservations feature has made NoshList even more appealing to any business that schedules future appointments, whether they have a walk-in waitlist or not.

Not all businesses have WiFi or want to get an iPad or Android tablet though, so it is great for those businesses that NoshList also runs on any computer right from the browser and also on Clover. So we were thrilled to be able to join First Data in their booth at the RetailNow conference highlighting Clover and some of the top apps running on Clover.

Here are some shots from the event:

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 .

Tired of writing down reservations on paper? Now you can keep track of reservations in the same place as you manage your wait list. In May, we announced our new reservations feature for iOS at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. Now we have added reservations to our Android and Clover apps. You can now use our online NoshList waitlist from any browser.

Taking reservations through NoshList is great for any customer reservation call in because it works just like our same-day estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) feature that restaurant staff enter when adding parties. The only difference is that you can choose a future date in addition to a time.

Reservations are also grouped in their own section that you can view by pressing on the calendar icon so you can get an overview of the number of reservations and people by day as well as the details of the individual parties for each day.

reservations overview

Then any reservations for the current day will automatically show up in the ETA section of the waitlist. So, it is easy to get an integrated view of the walk ins waiting and expected people coming in with reservations.

reservations detail

“The new Reservations feature opens up the use of our NoshList app to restaurants and retailers who take advance bookings, and is the first app that offers this type of functionality for multiple industries across iOS, Android, and the web,” said Craig Walker, NoshList founder and CEO. “By continuously updating our wait list app, we are answering the call to create the only wait list platform restaurants and retailers should consider.”