Are patients able to make appointments at times that are conventient to them? Are you as accessible as you could be...or are your hours creating a barrier to new patients?
by John DeMatte IV, D.C. in Practice Procedures on Thursday, August 30, 2018
We always discuss ideas of how to have a successful practice and ways to make your practice stand out from the rest in terms of marketing techniques, business cards, speaking engagements, etc.
But what good are all of those things if your office hours are not accessible to the patients?
I have witnessed too many young practitioners having hours that work for them but not for the patients.
Nothing gets under my skin more than a patient saying "I tried to get in earlier (meaning the day before....not earlier that day) because I was in a lot of pain but they (the office person) said this was the best that they could do."
This does not happen much as my staff understands that if the book is full they are to put the patient on hold and come get me. Many times the patients are told to come during my lunch or dinner break if not right away regardless of the schedule.
Nobody said this job was going to be easy!
Here are a few reasons why I think it is critical for a practice to commit itself to the patients by having accessible hours:
- If that potential new patient can not get into your office with their acute back pain that day, they will no doubt keep calling until they find a chiropractor who will accomodate them.
- Worse yet...they could be a new patient who never went to a chiropractor before and we (as a profession) have lost another patient to the ER.
- If you need to see a patient 2-3 times a week it's especially important that your hours are convenient especially if the person needs to take time off work.
- Even a "wellness" program may need to be flexible. The 9-5 worker with a commute may not be able to get into your office until 7-8 p.m.
- If you have so many patients that you find yourself working Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. then you have a great opportunity to bring on an associate and future buyer for the practice...your exit strategy is complete!
A very wise and successful chiropractor once told me, "My hours start at 8:30 in the morning and are finished when I see the last patient."
Do you think that this practice management will help you stand out as a health care professional in the community?