Patient Flow Management: Tips To Avoid Bottlenecks

Running an efficient medical practice is very important to your ability to treat all of your patients in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, bottlenecks can occur during any day that can put you massively behind schedule. When this happens, you can end up dealing with a lot of annoyed patients who are waiting around well past their appointment times while your staff struggles to keep up with their work – and when you and your staff are running around trying to get things done frantically, there’s more risk for potential error, which can compromise your ability to effectively treat your patients.

Tips to Avoid Bottlenecks and Manage Your Patient Flow

The following are a few tips to help prevent bottlenecks from happening and to manage your patient flow:

Get rid of no-shows – No-shows can be incredibly irritating since they represent gaps within your schedule during which you could be getting work done. Try to eliminate no-shows by calling scheduled patients a day ahead of time to confirm the appointment and by charging no-show fees. When a gap in your schedule shows up because of a no-show, have a list of tasks ready that you can complete, such as phone calls and prescription refills. Just make sure these tasks don’t bleed into your next appointment.

Prevent late appointments – Patients that show up 30 minutes late throw your entire schedule out of sync. It causes other patients to have to wait well past their own appointment times, which will cause them to grow annoyed. Consider setting up a 15 minute window after which patients must reschedule and after which they must pay a fine. You’ll find that those patients will never be late again.

Fit patients in wherever possible – If an appointment is taking longer than expected, see if you can see another patient in between. For example, you could have a nurse draw blood work while you see another patient.

Be careful about scheduling – You don’t want to double book anyone or you’re going to fall way behind for the day. If you know a certain procedure is going to take a lot of time, make sure that you allow for it on your schedule. The last thing you want to do is create a bottleneck because you didn’t schedule the day properly.

Schedule specific time slots for sales people – If you keep getting sales people at your door trying to get five minutes of your time, set aside two time slots in your weekly schedule for this purpose only. This way, you won’t lose time listening to their pitch when they show up and you won’t lose appointment time booking too many meetings throughout the week with these sales people whenever they pop up.

Identify the cause behind your bottlenecks – If bottlenecks seem to happen somewhat frequently, pay attention to the time at which they tend to happen and inspect all of the factors, including who all is on your staff and what their tasks are during this period. It could be because on of your employees is slow and needs to be re-trained – or it could be because you’re understaffed during certain times of the day and you need to schedule another employee for that time period.

Emphasize teamwork – Make sure that everyone knows what your daily schedule is and inform everyone when you are beginning to lag behind. They’ll be more likely to step up their efforts as a team.

These are just a few tips for helping you manage your patient flow and to avoid bottlenecks from occurring. For more information on how we can help improve your medical practice, be sure to contact us at ProMD today.

ProMD Medical Billing is happy to help with your billing assessment needs so you can maximize profits and increase patient satisfaction. To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 866-960-9558 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.

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