Warning: Where people wait really doesn’t matter
So you’ve gotten all of the patients out of the waiting room, and you’re staring at a nice collection of vacant chairs. Your work is done, right?
Not necessarily. One of the biggest myths receptionists believe is that filling exam rooms is the same thing as being on top of patient scheduling.
These receptionists book a ton of patients first thing in the morning, and then move them all into exam rooms. The doctor can’t see all of these patients immediately at 8 a.m., so it doesn’t make sense to book them all at once.
If you start the day with every exam room full, that puts your providers immediately behind. All you’ve done is move the scheduling problem from the waiting room to the back office.
If patients are just sitting in the exam rooms waiting to be seen, they’re not generating revenue for your office. And they’re certainly not receiving the best possible care if they’re sitting in a small room staring at the same poster for half an hour.
Try these strategies for dealing with the first-thing-in-the-morning crush:
• Be realistic. If the doctor always comes in from rounds at the hospital 20 minutes late, don’t book patients until the doctor is likely to be there.
• Push starting time back half an hour. Let some patients show up at 7:30 instead of 8 a.m. so there’s a more even flow of patients first thing.
• Schedule according to the number of people who can see patients, not the number of rooms you have available.