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A Simple Way to Reduce Stress & Increase Patient Visits

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One subject that is often overlooked when it comes to running a chiropractic practice is appointment book control. Many doctors haven’t learned that every minute needs to accounted for by the appointment book. There’s only so much time in a day; and if that time is not managed properly, there will be frustration, distress, and failure.

Don’t allow your patients to come and go as they please. Schedule them. Allowing patients to control your schedule causes days like this: four regulars and a new patient show up for care. The new patient must wait an hour and a half for processing because you weren’t expecting two of the four regular patients. Both the new patient, the regular patients, and the doctor end up stressed and frustrated. This is a big break down in efficiency and unnecessary stress.


A simple way to fix this is cluster booking. Cluster booking is blocking time throughout the day where the CA and/or the staff know that they can’t book any new patients. That time is set aside just for regular patient visits.

There are also times when you must review report of findings. If you schedule in your report of findings, it helps you get into a groove. You’re able to focus on the patients at hand. It really improves the efficiency and effectiveness of what you’re communicating to your patients.

Here’s something else: cancelled appointments. If someone calls and cancels, are they rescheduled for another appointment? In other words, say they were on a care plan to be seen three times this week, but call on Monday and they cancel. Do you say “okay, we’ll see you on Wednesday.” If so, you’ve just missed that appointment which was part of their care plan. That’s not a rescheduled appointment, that’s a MISSED appointment.

Many doctors will say “Well, I had 25 visits scheduled today and 24 of them showed up, so we did pretty good!” If that were the case in most chiropractic offices, it wouldn’t be too bad. However if 25 are scheduled, four miss their appointments, and there are five unscheduled drop-ins, there is a most likely a problem with appointment book control!

Forget the drop-ins for a moment, let’s focus on the missed appointments alone. Do you know that if you have one missed appointment every day for one year’s time, you’ve lost over $10,000? So when the appointment book is mismanaged, even if it’s just one missed appointment a day, there will be dramatic loss of profit and productivity.

When I ask doctors how many additional patients they would like to see in a day, without added stress, most doctors will say somewhere around 20 more patients a day.

However, if one patient visit takes 20 minutes, the report of findings takes 30 minutes, and processing a new patient takes a full hour, you are wasting the time you could be seeing additional patients. There is only so much time in a day; and if your practice is not running efficiently, how will you ever squeeze 20 more people into your schedule. Until you learn to manage your schedule, that day will never come.

To more about the AMC System and what we offer, click here.

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