Visit to the doctor only with ticket

Kilchenmann Kilchenmann, 23 January 2020


Clarence Davis, medical director of Permancence at Lucerne station, shows the ticket system. (Picture: Eveline Beerkircher)


Yasmin Kunz, Luzerner Zeitung 18.12.2019

For more satisfied patients: The emergency practice at the railway station relies on a ticketing system from Kilchenmann.

Permanence in Lucerne station wants to shorten waiting times - with a ticket system similar to the one used at the post office.

If a customer wants to post something or pay a bill at the post office, he has to buy a ticket beforehand. This ticket shows how long they have to wait until a counter is free.

Permanence Bahnhof Luzern will introduce a similar system from 1 January 2020, as managing director Herbert Sterchi and owner Myriam Matter explain to our newspaper. The two have been a team since 2016 and manage the MedCenter group of companies. In addition to the Permanence, this also includes the practice at Lucerne railway station and the practice in the Mall of Switzerland.

On average, the waiting time is half an hour

The motivation behind the ticket system, which costs 22 000 francs, is a simple one: patients do not want to wait long for a consultation with the doctor. On average, the waiting time is about half an hour. But it can also happen that you have to wait two hours because one or more emergencies come up unplanned, explains Clarence Davis. He has been the operational medical director at the Permanence since the beginning of 2019.

Davis says - based on patient surveys - that waiting time in particular has a negative influence on patient satisfaction. "If a patient has to wait for 90 minutes, for example, then in retrospect he judges the entire medical service as insufficient. And this is despite the fact that the medical consultation was good." Myriam Matter agrees and emphasises that the waiting time has no influence on the quality of the doctor's work. Davis notes: "The patients' demand for service has risen massively in recent years. Those who have an ailment are looking for immediate attention." This is a phenomenon of today's society.

The first practice in the canton with a ticket system

So the waiting time is a "perpetual bone of contention", says Davis, a specialist in general medicine. The ticket system is intended to make the hardly plannable work in the emergency practice more plannable. The bottom line is to increase patient satisfaction. Permanence will be the first practice in the canton of Lucerne to work with a ticket system.

In future, anyone who visits the Permanence will receive a ticket and, if desired, an SMS on their mobile phone. In this way, the patient has the opportunity to spend the waiting time outside the practice and is notified when his consultation is imminent. This system allows for better triage, Davis says, "because ticketing allows for more accurate case allocation." Urgent medical needs "that require immediate intervention will continue to be prioritised".

25'000 patients per year in the emergency practice

The Permanence, which was founded in 2002, has seen a decline in patients in recent years. The reason: at the end of 2013, the night service was discontinued. Since then, the practice closes at 11 pm from Sunday to Thursday. On weekends, it is still open from 7 a.m. on Friday morning until 11 p.m. on Sunday evening. Before that, it was open around the clock seven days a week.

The Permanence registers around 25,000 consultations per year. To date, more than half a million patients have been treated at the Permanence. For the owner, Myriam Matter, it is clear that she wants to operate the Permanence around the clock again one day. It is not yet clear when this will be the case.


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