Chiropractic Management — In this video by Tom Owen, AMC President, you’ll discover how to control your appointment book for optimal chiropractic practice growth.
Hello, doctors. Hope this finds you doing well today. Thank you for taking time to share with me. I’ve got a subject I want to cover today in the next few minutes that tends to get overlooked when it comes to the overall management of a chiropractic practice. It’s one that seems to be too simple to give too much focus to or attention, but it really can lead to a lot of stresses and distractions to the practice and to the doctor. And it leads to frustrations for both the doctor and the staff.
What I’m talking about is just simple appointment book control. A lot of doctors, I guess, never give that much attention, so they don’t have really learn that there needs to be a certain rhyme and reason to every minute that is controlled by the appointment book for the practice. Because really, when it boils down to it, there’s only so much time in a day. We’ll cover that here in a few minutes, but if that time is not managed properly and at least there’s a plan of action that both the staff and the doctor understand or agree to adhere to, then it’s going to lead to frustration, lead to distress, and you cannot grow past the stress level.
So something as simple as the appointment book can affect the practice. So let me give you an example. If we have a practice that’s running free then the patients can come and go when they want to, they never wait for the care, they don’t wait for the appointments. New patients come in, they walk in, they’re seen in between patient visits that you’re supposed to be seeing patients. And this leads to a lot of frustration to the patient and the doctor.
The doctor is pulling their hair out going, well, I’ve got four regular people that are here for their regular care. And then they got a new patient waiting out there for upwards to an hour and a half to be processed. And that’ll lead to frustration to both the new patient, and the regular patients, and the doctor. So that leads just to a big break down in efficiency and stress that doesn’t even need to occur.
One way to fix that would be something simple as cluster booking. Might be a common term for you, then again it might be something new to you. But cluster booking is essentially where we’re going to block time throughout the day that says, hey, for this hour and a half, for this two hours, the CA, the the chiropractic assistant, the staff, knows that they can’t book any new patients. They can’t book any reports. That two and a half hours or hour and a half or whatever it may be, that it blocked for only to see patient visits for regular care.
And in that time they’re allowed, if we’re running on an efficient basis, remember that law of efficiency, can’t outgrow that efficiency law, that they can see, in that cluster booking time, those blocks, that they put in three patients for every 15 minute block. So that means that you’re going to keep on pace and see the patient, the regular visits, inside of five minutes.
Then they’ll be blocks of time to where you’re not going to see anything but report of findings. So if you need to fit in your report of findings, it helps you get into a groove. Also, you’re not bouncing around. You’re able to focus on the patients at hand. So you got report of findings stacked up for an hour. And then there’s three or four different blocks throughout the day where you can see a new patient. It really helps with the efficiency and the effectiveness of what you’re trying to communicate to the patients a time, and you’re able to get into a groove.
Here’s another point that’s often overlooked. Just plain missed appointments on the appointment book management. If someone calls and cancels, are they rescheduled? And many times a doctor thinks, well, I got them rescheduled. Yeah, but did we reschedule and make up for the appointment that was missed? In other words, if they were on some type of care plan where they were scheduled to be seen three times that week but they call on Monday and they cancel and you just say, well, OK, we’ll see you on Wednesday. Well, you’ve missed that appointment that was originally scheduled in the care plan. So that’s not a rescheduled, that’s just a missed appointment.
For example, a lot of doctors think, well, I had 25 visits schedule today. And 24 of them showed, so we did pretty good. Well, if that was the case, in most chiropractic offices that’s not that bad. However, a lot of practices, they have 25 scheduled, they had four missed appointments, yet they have five drop-ins. Good indication that we have a problem with appointment book control.
But just on the missed appointments, forget the drop-ins for a moment. Just on the missed appointments alone, do you know that if you have one missed appointment a day and you do that for a year’s time that’s over $10,000, money lost to that practice per year? So even when the appointment book is mismanaged, and even down to one missed appointment a day, that’s going to lead to lost profits, lost productivity.
Really when it boils down to it, efficiency is the key. And I’ve talked about that before in messages I’ve had with you before. But most doctors, if I asked you, how many additional patient visits would you like to be able to see in a day effectively and efficiently with low stress, most doctors, in fact, I’ve got more than enough case studies to show this, will say, hey, I’d like to see 20 plus more patients a day.
Well frankly, until you start learning to manage the time in that day better, if it takes you 20 minutes to see a patient visit, if it takes 30 minutes to do a report of findings, if it takes you a full hour to process a new patient, then you’re taking up the time in that day. And people are coming and going and you’re backed up trying to see the patient visits while you’re still trying to process a new patient. The bottom line is there’s only so much time, and if you keep running your practice in that manner, how you ever going to squeeze 20 more people in the office?
See, until we manage the time that we have better, then that day is never going to come to that you’re going to squeeze 20 more people in. Because that’s a stress point. And you cannot outgrow a stress point. Can’t be done until you address it. And all of these inefficiencies leads to that friendship practice that so many doctors deal with, where the patients are coming and going when they what to. They dictate the care. They come in, they sign in, they go straight back, they don’t even wait for any time for the doctor’s time. There’s no respect.
And when there’s no respect for the doctor’s time, I’ll assure you, sure as I’m sitting in this chair talking to you, there’s not going to be referrals. Because in any business, not just chiropractic, why does someone refer to another business? It’s because they like you and they respect and value what you offer.
Well, a friendship practice has the like down really good, you got a lot of friends in the office. But they don’t respect and value, really, what you’re offering. That’s why results, even if they frustrate you, your patients are getting great results, but they’re not referring. It really boils down to if you’ve got just the like, friendship, aspect of the practice but don’t have the respect and value of what you’re offering, you’re never going to get referrals. That’s just a law in business. It’s not just in chiropractic.
Listen, I could go on and on about the management of the day-to-day operations of a chiropractic office, and there’s a lot to cover. And if you don’t have the proper direction, then seek it out. I’m here to help chiropractors, and the reason I’m here to help chiropractors is because I’m here to help see chiropractic spread not just nationally, but internationally, abroad. It needs to be available to every human being, plain and simple. That’s what I’m here for.
So when I’m talking about something as simple as an appointment book control, think of it this way. Until you learn to manage the business that you already have, you’re going to be constantly looking for new business. Think about that for a second. If we’re losing business, the very business that we’ve already spent a certain amount of money and time to get into our office, if we mismanage that, then we’re going to be seeking out new business before we really need it.
So I encourage you to, hey, pay attention to the appointment book. If you don’t know how to do it, then seek out the help. That’s what we’re here for. Love to help you if we can. I hope you found this informative, and more importantly, that it’s effective and helps your practice. Have yourself a great day. God bless.
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