Did you know that simplifying patient scheduling for your practice has a direct impact on time management? When you simplify patient scheduling, you eliminate unnecessary complexities that have the potential to increase delays in the system. That is why your practice must embark on the mission of streamlining your scheduling system. ChiroSpring recommends taking the following action steps.
1. Limit the Visit Types in the System
Traditional scheduling systems have multiple visit types, each with its own time allocation and rate of frequency. When a patient schedules an appointment for the treatment of whiplash, for instance, they get the first “whiplash visit” type that is open. It doesn’t matter if that slot is only available in a month. Other slots might be open and available at a closer date, but that patient will not get those slots because you’ve reserved them for different visit types.
It is easy to see that this traditional arrangement is disadvantageous for both the patient and the practice. You need to adjust your practice management software so you only have a single visit type for the system. This will enable you to select a uniform time interval for all visits. It will also let you book patients for free slots that are better for their schedule.
2. Use a Suitable Time Interval for the Slots
After you’ve decided to use a single-appointment slot format, you’ll need to select a suitable time visit. The tricky part about this is that you can’t anticipate with certainty how long a patient visit will last. What you expect to be a long visit might turn out to be a short and straightforward encounter. You can consider a suitable time by averaging the amount of time that you spend with patients overall. If you typically spend between ten and fifteen minutes with a patient, then go with fifteen minutes per slot, as that will probably work best for you.
3. Segment the Sessions
You now need to fit the slots into sessions. You can do this by first breaking down the sessions into hour segments. Allocate the slots to each hour using the selected time intervals. If you are working with a time interval of twenty minutes for every slot, then each session should have three slots.
4. Plan for Visits Using the Slots
So far, you have developed a simple framework that can help you simplify patient scheduling. Let’s now apply tactics to this framework. The most crucial tactic is planning patient visits using the slots.
Understanding the nature of patient visits is paramount when it comes to planning. Consultations with patients won’t always fit into allotted time slots. Some consultations will be longer, while others will utilize only a fraction of the time.
With this in mind, you should book patients who will likely use up all the time in a slot as the first appointment for each session for every hour. This will help you avoid packing long encounters into a single hour. It will also spread out the workload for your staff. They will find it easier to accomplish tasks because they won’t be under pressure to deliver in a short period.