There are three mysteries in scheduling that you must clear up immediately, because they can cost practices millions of dollars over the course of a career. The three scheduling mysteries are:
Mystery 1 – No-Shows and Last-Minute Cancellations
These are literally killing you by eviscerating your daily production goals and totals. You want your no-shows and last-minute cancellations—and make no mistake, a last-minute cancellation is as damaging as a no-show—under 1%.
Why do patients so often leave you with an opening that’s impossible to fill? You haven’t taught them to value their appointment. Here’s a three-step process, based on phone scripts, that will solve this problem. When a patient no-shows, or cancels at the last minute:
- Have your scheduling coordinator create demand for the appointment by making the patient wait for a few weeks.
- If that doesn’t work, then threaten to charge the patient for the missed appointment (rather than actually charging, waive the fee as a favor, for which the patient will thank you every time).
- Put habitual no-show patients on a short list “to fill last-minute openings”… but don’t actually call them. They are money losers as regular patients. By default, whenever they do have a problem, they’ll be your future emergencies and add to production at that point.
Mystery 2 – Dealing With The Late Patient
Even the best patients will be late from time to time. There’s no way around it. Usually, if you don’t see them when they show up, you’ll lose money on the case. It’s far better to squeeze in the offenders as best you can and to stress with patients going forward that they run on time.
For habitually late patients, try this: schedule them 20 minutes earlier than the actual opening. When they show up late, as usual, they’ll actually be on time.
Mystery 3 – Losing 10 Minutes Per Hour
Levin Group has now analyzed thousands of scheduling systems with scientific time studies and found that the vast majority of offices can easily improve performance by 10 minutes per hour. You can achieve this by analyzing the amount of time needed per procedure, delegating responsibilities so the doctor can spend more time chairside, and breaking old, inefficient habits.
The results will be nothing short of incredible. It’s like gaining two extra months of potential doctor production time per year… which, over the course of 24 years, adds 48 months. This is the equivalent of generating an additional two years’ worth of production without working one more minute!
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