If providing quality care for your patients is your number one priority, then optimizing your patient schedule efficiently to see more patients is probably second. The problem is that a small hiccup in the day can completely throw off your schedule and result in empty exam rooms or a decrease in quality.
Life happens. Your patients may have scheduled their exam a year ago, but now they have scheduled another event over the exam. A lot can change from the time when a patient schedules the appointment to when they are supposed to be checking in. The important thing is that you get enough notice on any cancellations or rescheduling so you have time to fill the empty appointment slot and minimize the impact of no shows.
The solution is to use a patient recall system to remind patients of their upcoming appointment. Make sure you let them know if you have a cancellation/rescheduling policy and make it easy for them to reschedule on their own time. This can by done by giving them access to a scheduling tool in their patient portal profile.
Multi-tasking takes a toll on your productivity and can result in lower quality care if you’re switching back and forth between two different tasks. To help you stay focused on similar exam types, you can cluster appointments into the same time block. For example, try to group all contact lens fitting exams into a one or two hour time blocks each day. This will also help your staff stay organized and improve the office workflow.
Double-booking is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, by double-booking appointments, you can avoid practice downtime, however you also increase the chance of getting thrown off schedule by having multiple patients show up late.
To double-book appointments effectively, your office workflow needs to be efficient, effective, and predictable. If you have optimized your office workflow, you can stagger appointments to have a steady stream of patients. So, when you finish the exam lane with one patient, your Optical Technician is completing the pre-exam lane with another patient.