Your front desk team has a lot on their plate. They make patients feel welcome, check them in and out, and make new appointments. But they also manage your therapists’ schedules – a challenge in itself, but one that keeps your practice financially stable.
Unfortunately, no-shows and last-minute cancellations are inevitable. The solution? A waitlist that is easy for your front desk to manage.
Best Practice: Hyper-Organize Your Waitlist
To be truly effective, a waitlist must be well-organized. This means collecting not only the patient’s name, insurance, and contact information (as you already do) but also a couple of other details:
- The patient’s preferred schedule: What days work best for the patient? Or are there certain times in the day when they’re available?
- Their preferred therapist: Do they have a specific physical therapist in mind, or want the first available appointment? Do they have a gender preference or specialty?
- Priority of treatment: Was the patient recently in an accident or did they have a surgical procedure that necessitates speedy intervention?
These details help your front desk quickly know which patient is likely to be available, and whom to call first, resulting in far less work. Whether you use a digital waitlist tool, or keep a written list, organizing patients based on availability, preferences, and priority helps them efficiently fill last-minute appointment slots.
Yet, doing this all from a written list can be time-consuming. So what’s the solution? Outpatient therapy software or a physical therapy EMR that modernizes this workflow. Enter Insight EMR… with a digital waitlist tool to customize fields so you can capture and easily access any other information you need.
Best Practice: Make Workflows Official
Once your waitlist is organized, create a workflow so your team members can easily monitor and manage the list. If they already have a well-established routine, it might feel like a challenge to introduce a few new steps, but these are worth considering:
- Hold a quick training session: Once your team sees how quick and easy it is to find and match patients with last-minute appointments, they’ll understand how this workflow will save them time and effort. During this session, you can show them how to match patients with appointments, edit information, and keep everything organized.
- Make the list long: Every clinic is different, and it’ll take some time to find the “magic number” of calls that will result in a filled appointment. But generally speaking, the more patients you have on the waiting list, the higher the chance that your clinic will find someone to fill a canceled appointment.
- Be sure to ask patients if they want to be added: Set clear expectations with your front desk to regularly ask patients if they want to be added to the waitlist.
- Texting can be best: Not every patient wants phone calls in the middle of the day! Ask if they’d prefer to receive a text if there is a cancellation!
Best Practice: Regular Reporting
By running waitlist reports on a regular basis, you make sure that you don’t lose any patients in the shuffle. To start, we recommend running it at least weekly: updating which patients have yet to be called and noting any changes in contact information, preferences, or priority.
You can also use this report to identify trends at your clinic. For example, you might notice that patients are requesting appointments late in the day and make adjustments to your therapists’ schedules so more patients can be seen during those high-demand time slots. Alternatively, if your therapists are often booked up, it might be time to hire more therapists or therapy assistants.
As with most reports, taking a deep dive into your analytics can provide some valuable business insights.
Our Waitlist Management Tool Makes It Simple
Keeping a manual list can be effective, but it’s not efficient or easy for your front desk team. Insight’s Waitlist Management tool is integrated directly into your Physical Therapy EMR, so your front desk can quickly and accurately find the right patients to call.
When a slot opens up on the schedule, for example, a last-minute cancellation, use the Waitlist Management tool to find a patient who matches the parameters of the opening. Insight displays a list of matching entries, so the right number to text or call is at your fingertips.
It’s a tool to keep your schedule full and get the right patient in as soon as possible.