Let’s face it – time is fast becoming THE most important commodity. Experiences are now valued above possessions for most of the younger generation. Patients – and your team – very much appreciate a clinic that runs on schedule and does not waste precious time.
Tips from my toolbox . . .
1. Commit to Timeliness as a Value
Make being on-schedule an integral part of the culture of your clinic. More than a priority, make it a value that you communicate to your patients and your team.
2. Lead By Example
Communicate. Before your day begins, do a quick review of your patient schedule and hold a quick huddle with your team to address any special circumstances that might lead to unnecessary delays.
Stay on time, even when others don’t. If your team is running behind, find the patient you are scheduled to see, no matter where they are in the office, and find a way to get that patient ready for you asap. Others can finish their tasks with the patient after you are done seeing them.
3. Handle Late Patients Strategically
If a patient arrives significantly late and you agree to see them, have your team explain that patients who arrive on time will be given priority over them with respect to your schedule.
Pro tip: Work with your team and prepare a script to handle this ahead of time.
4. Communicate With Patients When You Run Behind
We all get behind at times for reasons that are important, such as emergency visits. Have a team member explain to other patients that you are behind for about “x” amount of time for reason “y.”
Do your best to catch up without sacrificing quality of care.