Growth is an amazing thing in any business, and the veterinary industry is no exception. That being said, navigating the process of growing can often be challenging – especially when it comes to maintaining an efficient daily schedule. If your clinic is struggling to stay on top of increasing demand, it may be time to consider making some important changes. Here are a few expert tips from our team of practice growth specialists.
Be deliberate about appointment length
Each doctor has his or her own preference when it comes to how long they feel appointments should be. For instance, some feel a routine visit shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes while others might prefer a duration of 30-40 minutes. To maximize efficiency, make sure you settle on a time and let your appointment schedulers know. If your practice has multiple doctors, the scheduling team should be aware of the preferences of each so that they can book timeslots accordingly.
Try to stagger appointment whenever possible
By staggering appointment times for doctors and technicians, you can optimize the flow of traffic within your clinic. Sudden surges of traffic in and out of exam rooms can result in bottlenecks and scheduling delays that can snowball and impact appointments for the rest of the day. This practice will also enable you to streamline the patient intake process, cutting down on wasted time and keeping everything running like a well-oiled machine.
Set clear and realistic expectations
It’s not uncommon for a busy veterinarian to get so caught up in his or her schedule that they forget to loop in the rest of the team. This can leave others in the lurch and result in unnecessary delays. To avoid this, each doctor in your clinic should take full ownership of their schedule and remain in regular communication with the staff about their plans. For instance, if one DVM happens to have a little more flexibility on a particular day, the front desk should be made aware. Likewise, knowing when each doctor is available throughout the day for calls, messages or questions will also keep things flowing more smoothly.
Review and revise as necessary
Your scheduling process doesn’t have to be set in stone. To the contrary, it should be routinely reviewed to determine if there are areas where improvements can and should be made. Be flexible and open-minded. Ask the rest of the team for their input and suggestions. The more open and adaptable you are, the more efficient your practice will become, which will make things better for everyone – doctors, staff and clients alike.
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