Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to Schedule Effectively in a Clinic

Try to identify the average number of appointment your offices has per day. This will allow you to identify how many slots you will need to leave open each day. Keep track of the percentage of walk in appointments and last minute calls you get on the average day. Be sure to leave about 10 percent of the slots open for the nurses to schedule triage appointments.

TIP Generally speaking, Mondays and Fridays are extremely busy days. Most offices keep about 50 percent of their slots open on these days for last minute and follow up appointments. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 30-35 percent of the slots are usually held open.

Leave half the open slots and one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon open per doctor. These slots will be filled with same day appointments.

The open slots so if a patient can't make it in during a certain time with their usual physician they can see another physician at their requested time. For example, if a patient wants to see their doctor between 1 and 2 but that slot is full, they can see an alternative doctor during that time.

Other 50 percent of appointments should be filled by those who schedule appointments two weeks or more in advance. These appointments are usually for annual exams, routine checkups and for patients with chronic illnesses. Be sure to stagger these appointments as well. Doing so will prevent back ups at the scales, restrooms and eye charts and will give nurses more time for blood draws, urinalysis, etc.

It is not advisable to schedule early morning hours for same day appointments. These appointments should be scheduled for people who need to make it to work on time and are prepared to be at their appointment on time. It is also illogical to leave these appointments open as offices that open at 8AM begin accepting patients and open phone lines at that time. It is very rare that a patient calls at 8AM and can make it on time for their appointment at 8AM. Therefore, the slots are rarely filled.

The remaining open slots should be filled with follow up appointments. These slots should be scheduled no later than two weeks from their original appointment time. The patient will usually schedule the appointment before they leave the office. If there are any remaining slots open, they can be filled by walk-ins or same day appointments.