It is one of the most common issues I hear about: a practice that is doing everything correctly but not getting ahead. New patients keep coming in every month, patient flow is flowing, the hygiene department is humming, technology investments are being made and clinical skills keep improvingâyet practice revenue is not significantly improving. It is a perplexing and frustrating time for many practice owners.
Luckily, the solution is almost always not so mysterious. In fact, it comes down to one word: scheduling.
Scheduling is easy in the early years of a practiceâs developmentâpatients come in and you schedule them on a simple first-come, first-served basis. But eventually, the busier you get, the faster that schedule fills up. You become a slave to the daily hamster wheel of appointmentsâno matter how busy you are, you never seem to be getting any farther ahead.
This can evolve into a serious problem because as you are booking further and further into the weeks and months ahead, the kinds of cases that really drive growth get crowded out. Major cases that were accepted with enthusiasm get lost to inertia or to the lure of competition for discretionary dollars. New patients grow old waiting for their turn. Meanwhile, your days are filled with âjust keeping upâ appointments. In short, you become a slave to your schedule.
The answer, of course, since you canât add any more time to the day, is to get serious about getting more from the hours you have. You have to âtake backâ your schedule and make it work for you and the practice.
The answer is found in what is called âblock schedulingâ and it really works. Itâs an âif you build it, they will comeâ approach to prioritizing your time that ensures that every hour creates the best possible impact on your practice economics and your patientsâ care. Using this method, you will know that you are balancing your days in the right way, because the schedule demands it. Best of all, using this approach, you can actually see significant increases in production while seeing fewer patientsâwhich means more professional satisfaction and less stress.
Remember, all this can be achieved without compromising patient care in any way. After all, in any successful practice, some patients will have to wait. In the old way of âtake them as they come,â no thought is given as to who has to wait, and when. What we are talking about here is strategically organizing the tempo and flow of your day to best serve the interests of everyone.
Sound complicated? It really isnât. In fact, we have put together a video course on the subject that you and your team could review in less than hour. It even comes with a sample template schedule to get you started.
No matter how you choose to go about it, if you are in a time-crunched, stagnant-growth situation the important thing is that you get off the hamster wheel and start using your schedule as a proactive tool to help you achieve what is possible for you and the practice.
If you find topics like this helpful, check out Imtiaz Manjiâs practice management courses available to you through our Course Library. Not yet a member of Spear Online? Click here to learn more.