If there is one thing that a lot of people complain about when they visit their doctor it is that they have to wait, wait, and then wait some more! Scheduling medical appointments can be incredibly difficult. After all, it is difficult to know how long an appointment is going to take to begin with. The situation is then only made worse when there are delays and cancellations. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some advice on how to schedule patients effectively.
Always start on time
The first tip is to make sure you start your appointments on time. If the first patient is scheduled to see the doctor at 8.00 am, make sure the appointment actually begins at 8.00 pm. If you do not see the patient until 8.15 am, it may not seem like a big delay on its own, but it is only going to have a ripple effect, which will make all of the day’s appointments fall behind.
Use appointment reminders
In order to reduce the chances of people failing to show up for their appointments, send out appointment reminders. You can also automate these messages so that everyone receives them in the lead up to their appointment.
Group similar patients
It can also be beneficial to group similar patients. There are some doctors that will prefer to see patients with similar medical histories and similar conditions on the same day. This is because it enables the doctor to be more focused, enabling them to provide quicker diagnoses and appointments, all without having to switch between different types of patients.
Determine how you will deal with urgent situations
You also need to consider how you are going to deal with urgent situations. You may decide to leave a few slots free per day, for instance, in case of emergencies.
Put a cancellation policy in place
You are definitely going to have no-shows if you do not have an effective cancellation policy in place. This is critical because no-shows cost practices money.
Put together a timeline
You need to determine what your schedule is going to look like. In order to do this, there are a number of questions that you will need to ask yourself. This includes: How many patients are you going to see per week? How many days can a patient wait to be seen? And how many hours is a doctor going to work per week and per day? Determining the answers to these questions is critical to getting a realistic estimate of how many patients a doctor can realistically see on any given day.
Plan for seasonality
Last but not least, it is important to know your patient base and their seasonal requirements. For example, there will tend to be a lot of wellness visit requests at pediatric practices just before the school year begins. Therefore, this is something you will need to keep in mind if you run a pediatric practice.
As you can see, there are a number of different steps that you can take to make sure that you schedule your medical appointments carefully. If you follow the suggestions that have been presented above, you will give yourself the perfect foundation for scheduling medical appointments effectively.