Effective scheduling is essential to keeping a medical office running. There are many tips and tricks that can help improve the flow of your workday and minimize how often you end up behind schedule. Here are seven to get you started.
One: Start At Noon
Filling out appointment blocks from noon forward or from noon backward helps keep ‘downtime’ at the start and end of the day. This allows for meetings and similar tasks during downtime.
Two: Be Sure an Office Visit is Necessary
Ask yourself if the patient’s needs can be met through remote means rather than an office visit. If an email or call will suffice, it will save everyone time.
Three: Utilize Staffs Most Advanced Skills
If a nurse can handle part of a patient’s appointment, that will free the doctor up to provide more advanced services to other patients. This allows doctors to see more patients in a day.
Four: Utilize Self-Scheduling
Scheduling patient appointments over the phone can consume staff time that would be much better used for patient care or support. Establishing a system for self-scheduling can free up time and allow the office to care for more patients in a day.
Five: Study the Patterns and Adapt
Keep track of how closely the days actually align with the schedules as written. Look for patterns on days you end up behind schedule. Is there a type of appointment that is taking longer than anticipated, a staffing shortage during part of the day? Adjust your scheduling strategy as needed to help clear those bottlenecks.
Six: Double Book Smartly
Combined with tip number three, double booking can increase productivity. Be sure to combine compatible appointments when double-booking. For example, an appointment where the doctor usually works with the patient at the start books well alongside an appointment where the patient can start with the nurse.
Seven: Send Appointment Reminders
Appointment reminders can generate cancellations that would have been no-shows. A patient may know they are going to miss an appointment but forget to cancel. The reminder will give them a chance to call and cancel, allowing the time slot to be re-booked.