Identify New Patients that Will Take Longer Than Usual
Assigning extra time for patients that can be identified as requiring longer visit times will prevent long waiting times for those patients scheduled after such patients.
NEW Patients That May Require Longer Than Average Visit Times
- KEYBOARDING INJURIES: Patients with hand, wrist, forearm or elbow symptoms and who use the keyboard frequently and DO NOT have symptoms because of recent trauma, such as fall or lifting a heavy object, should be scheduled for 45-minute appointments.
- CHRONIC INJURIES > 1 YR DURATION. Patients that need an INITIAL VISIT to treat a flare of symptoms from a prior injury or have re-injured the same area > 1-year from the date of the original injury should receive a 45-minute NEW PATIENT visit.
Follow-Up Visits That May Require Longer Than Average Visit Times
- Patients that are not making good progress. These patients need to have a re-assessment as to management, additional time to explain the change in the treatment plan to both patients and employers, and will likely need additional orders for referrals, changes in treatment, and authorization requests to be written and scheduled.
- Patients that have authorization requests denied.
- Patients that have conflicts with their employers regarding work restrictions or work assignments.
- Patients with stress regarding financial hardships as a result of lost income during their injury.
Method for Filling the Schedule
If the patient DOES NOT express a specific preference for appointment times, the following scheduling guidelines will minimize long waits for patients:
- Initially fill the schedule with gaps between appointments to allow other patients a selection of times throughout the day for their appointments. This is preferable to filling all available times in a sequential fashion.
- As the schedule becomes more densely packed with appointments, fill in the gaps with additional appointments. In this manner, you maintain the option of offering subsequent patients the greatest variety of appointment times throughout the workday and avoiding the delay of these patients’ appointments by another 1-2 days.
- On days that are lightly scheduled, there will be multiple gaps in the schedule. Should any one patient need more time than their allotted visit time, the next gap in the schedule will allow the office to catch up. The end result is that a delay occurring in the early morning or early afternoon schedule will be less likely to propagate a delay in multiple subsequent appointments already scheduled.