Many practices fail to appreciate how critical a role scheduling has in a practice’s profits and the way patients perceive care. As an example, consider how an ineffective reminder system can cause a cascade of ill consequences for your practice: the patient forgets their appointment — the provider sits unproductive — patients can’t get into see their “fully-booked” provider. Both practice profitability and patient care are compromised.
To avoid these scheduling problems, it’s important to periodically review your scheduling operation from a patient’s perspective. For each step make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the full range of outcomes. Do you know, for example, what happens when your reminder system fails to deliver to a patient? Is someone on your staff charged with following up? Do you effectively track “no-shows?” Do you have goals for reducing them?
Whether you conduct a review of your scheduling procedures using an outside consultant or your own staff, you may be surprised to see a boost in morale because scheduling staff have a tough job and are rarely consulted by management. Understanding the challenges that your scheduling staff face and their ideas for improving processes are great first steps toward increasing your practice’s finances and improving the mood of patients and staff alike.