Do 20% of your Patients Take up 80% of Your Time?

Do you have a protocol in your office for ensuring that every patient has a Five Star VIP service? Having written protocols for everything in your office is key to holding your team accountable yet Five Star VIP service is often one area where we would see some inequality in patient treatment, and it is more difficult to write a protocol for all the variations that could take place.

With most things in our lives, we try to get everything right 100% of the time, yet sometimes we are quite accepting with an 80/20 rule. If you think about it, you will find that 20% of our patients take up most of our time, effort and create stress in our lives. This means that sometimes, the remaining 80% of our patients may not receive the VIP treatment because they are easy and will keep coming back whether they are made to feel special or not at each appointment.

The ways that we let these 20% of our patients take up our time is that we allow them to misbehave:

  • We allow them to always change appointment times (some offices even encourage it by saying “if this time doesn’t work for you then let us know and we can find another time”) 
  • We must chase after them for payment of their account
  • They are running late which then causes our day to run late and make other patients wait
  • They don’t ever accept treatment diagnosis the first time that they hear it, which forces you to spend time and money reviewing the information and following up on a regular basis

Each of the above “misbehaviours” wreaks havoc on your schedule, stresses your team and reflects poorly on the office for other patients. When writing your office protocols, you need to have rules to combat these issues.

  1. Patients who have frequent appointment changes are tracked in your software, ensure that your team is looking at appointment history, noting it in patients charts and these patients should not receive appointments at prime times. This will allow prime time appointments to be available for the patients who have earned the right to have these appointments.
  • Financial protocols and arrangements with patients need to be clear and concise across the board for everyone. There shouldn’t be exceptions made as those people who ask for exceptions are usually the patients who will stretch your rules. If your team members are taking time to follow up on accounts receivable it may mean that there is less time available to provide the outstanding care that you expect for your patients.
  • Finding a strategy and verbiage for patients who run late is imperative for every office. Whether you decide to complete less work or not see the patient is your choice but why should you stress or make your other patients wait because one patient didn’t honour their appointment time?
  • The reason that we talk about patient acceptance rates at first diagnosis is to ensure that we aren’t wasting time and money on getting patient acceptance. All you need to do is keep a time record of the amount of time it takes you to describe the treatment, the time spent with administrators the day of the appointment and then follow up time. If it takes three or four attempts to gain treatment acceptance you may find that the treatment you are delivering is almost costing you money.

Ensuring that each and every patient receives your 5 Star VIP Treatment at each and every appointment is important, don’t allow the 20% to take away from the 80%.

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