You’ve got a lot to juggle in operating your practice. While you want to spend more time with patients, there are other administrative tasks that need to be done, including appointment scheduling, billing, and recording and processing patient information.
Make your practice more efficient and productive with better time management. These best practices will help you get started.
There are various practices and programs you can implement in your practice that will help you and your staff save time.
Your front office staff likely spends much of their day scheduling and rescheduling appointments, as well as contacting patients to remind them of upcoming appointments. Smart scheduling is a methodical approach for scheduling appointments and breaks that maximize providers’ use of time. There are various ways to incorporate smart scheduling into your operations, including:
Once you incorporate some of these practices, evaluate over time to pinpoint any trends and make adjustments as necessary.
When welcoming a new patient to your practice, create a pleasant and efficient patient experience by sending them the necessary forms to complete in advance of their appointment. You can deliver the forms via email or send printed copies in the mail if time allows. Additionally, collect as much information about the patient (insurance, relevant medical history) when scheduling their appointment so providers and staff are prepared and can save time asking these questions during the exam and consultation.
Batch processing is a method for grouping and completing like tasks – paying bills, sending emails, making phone calls, etc. – at the same time. For instance, rather than checking and responding to emails throughout the day, it’s more efficient to block out two or three times a day to read and send emails. Likewise, you can set aside a couple of hours to pay all invoices at once instead of paying each one as they arrive. Batch processing increases overall productivity and minimizes disruptions throughout the day.
Running a practice takes a village; it’s not fair to yourself – or your patients – to take on everything yourself. Lean on your employees to share responsibilities, like keeping the office clean, organizing patient information, and handling billing work. Make a checklist of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks for all practice staff to perform to keep everyone on task and help the practice run smoothly and profitably. Delegating helps balance workloads so providers can see more patients in a given day, week, and month.
Finally, consider how you can make best use of the time you have between patient appointments. Following every patient’s exam and/or fitting, equipment must be cleaned and sanitized. Bring only the essential equipment into consultation and exam rooms for easier, faster cleaning. Have multiple sets of the same equipment prepared in advance for each day’s appointment, and clean each set based on the schedule for the day. As a result, patients will spend less time in the waiting room and more time receiving the care they need.
Your practice thrives on the level of care you provide. Applying these time management actions will help you find the right balance between your day-to-day business operations and serving patients. More efficient processes mean more satisfied patients and employees, and ultimately a more lucrative practice.