Need More Time In Your Day? Try This!

“There is just no time.” “I can’t seem to get it all done.” “How can I grow my practice when I can’t handle what I already have?

Sound familiar?

If so, then perhaps you should consider an old concept known as cluster booking. Cluster booking can be very liberating when done properly. Please notice, I said “properly.” Many doctors will tell me that they are already cluster booking, when in reality they are not.

In addition to time management, cluster booking is beneficial for giving the appearance of a busy office. This is really important when you are in the early stages of growth! “People go where people go, because people go where people go.” It’s an old adage, but it is true. You especially want your new patients to arrive when other patients are there. It speaks volumes to their innate. Likewise, if they arrive when the office is empty, well, that speaks volumes too!

So, how do you master the appointment book? The simplest way to start is to begin booking patients at the exact same time. If you are just starting out, and you have 4 patients to schedule in the 9 to 10 hour, then give 2 of them 9 o’clock and 2 of them 9:15. If you schedule them throughout the hour, you are wasting time, and inviting frustration. We all know how it goes: one is on time, one is late, one is early. So, they won’t be there at the same time anyway. In fact, in the scenario above, you could give all four of them 9 o’clock, and you would be just fine!

To summarize, you want to work the ends of the schedule toward the middle. Cluster them as indicated above, but leave the middle of the schedule open. That way, if your morning isn’t full, you’ll have a nice, uninterrupted hole in the schedule where you can work on other things like paperwork, reading x-rays, and whatever else needs to be done. You will also have good spacing for other new patients to fill, but remember to schedule the new patients at the tail end of the cluster, so that they will arrive and begin filling out their paperwork while other patients are there.

Take charge of your time! You will be glad you did.

Dr. Rick Barrows

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