If you are a physician or work for one, you know how difficult it can be for everyone involved when you have an office full of impatient patients waiting to get the help they need. This often can’t be avoided, as people don’t have the leisure of choosing to get sick at a less busy time.
But in many cases, the inefficiency of a doctor’s office is self-inflicted. Mistakes are made, either out of carelessness or lack of understanding that causes patients to pile up in the waiting room like cars on a blocked freeway.
This can be harmful to a doctor’s practice for many reasons. A slow-moving office won’t be able to see as many patients in a day as it would if it optimized its time, leading to a slower turnover and less profit. In addition, patients who are forced to wait far beyond what is reasonable may choose to find the medical treatment they need elsewhere, which can be really damaging to a practice if it happens on a widespread basis. Knowing how to keep an office full of patients running like a well-oiled machine goes hand-in-hand with running a successful practice.
Appointment reminders are an excellent way to ensure that patients show up when and where they are scheduled, which helps doctor’s office efficiency a great deal. If you are a medical professional looking to sharpen your patient response time and overall office smoothness, here are some ways to do it.
Be Realistic About Scheduling
Too many doctors make the mistake of scheduling patients at small intervals during the day. The time spans that they set for each patient might be realistic if everything went exactly according to plan during a visit, but that rarely happens. Whether a patient is struggling with what to fill out requires a little more attention during their visit, it’s very easy for them to go past their allotted time window. It’s on the doctor or office manager to schedule with a little bit of leeway to prevent backups from happening.
One way that a doctor and his or her staff can smooth out the daily activity of an office is to talk to each other about it. There should be a period at the start of every week or, ideally, every day, when all of the staff sits down to talk about what’s ahead and address any problems that might come up that could hamper efficiency. An office where everyone is on the same page is likely to run smoothly.
Invest in Help
Whether it means hiring more personnel or spending on computerized solutions, a little money spent beforehand can make the difference in the long run in terms of how a doctor’s office operates. Think of this spending as an investment in an office where people feel comfortable bringing their medical problems, knowing they’ll be addressed as soon as possible. When they tell others, your practice will be the most popular around.
Patients need to trust that they will see their doctors when they need to do so. Running an efficient office will engender that trust.
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