Monday, November 3, 2008

The Effect of Too Many Doctor Days

Nothing creates more panic in the eyes of office managers than holes in the schedule. While doctors may complain about too much work and not enough time with a patient, the corollary is a lack of work.

I've watched this scenario play out several times now, and in our own practice it's not uncommon in the October/November period after we take on a new surgeon to have openings. An increase in doctor days (as much as 20% with a new surgeon) and native growth in the practice of 8-10% means space in the day.

The natural tendancy is to try and fill the day. If the day is filled by increasing sevice levels to patients that's great. However, the common approach is to add time to existing appointments.

When a practice accepts a new provider create the following checklist:
1. List appointment types and expected length
2. Use booking templates
3. Review the templates with booking staff then make sure they're followed
4. Allow for more 'urgent' visits. Rather than having a policy of booking days or weeks ahead ask patients if they'd like to come in that afternoon.

The danger of open appointment slots is adding inefficiencies to the schedule by the pressure to fill time. Instead, look at native growth, the change in provider time and have realistic expectations for open time in the first year.


kayla said...

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godoctor2010 said...

Thank you Doctor For This Very Useful Topic

shared decision making said...

The doctors have to really schedule themselves very well.In the race of making money a lot of quality medical help is lost and gone.

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Rea- MRSA infection said...

Very informative and interesting post. I agree that doctors should spend longer times with their patients so they won't have too many doctor days and also be effective at their work.

Heatlh and Advocate said...

Nice and informative article. :)

Disability Insurance for Physicians said...

You make some great points here. Just when you think your business is large enough to expand and you bring someone new on, revenue streams dry up. Very eloquent article.

StorytellERdoc said...

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I'll be following