Optometric Management Tip # 56   -   Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Staying on time for appointments

In response to least week's tip about cultivating referrals from existing patients, a colleague asked me if I had any suggestions about how to stay on time for appointments. It is indeed easy for doctors to become complacent about this, because all doctors seem to run behind. It's easy to rationalize that you had a difficult case or an emergency. Of course, the mere fact that most doctors routinely run late is all the more reason for you to stay on schedule. The dramatic difference between your punctuality and other doctors will be very apparent and much appreciated. Everyone's time is important to them.

If you are often running late, the first step is to analyze where and how the breakdown occurs. That should give you a clue as to how to remedy the problem. Hold a staff meeting about this topic and obtain input from your receptionists and technicians... they may see it clearer than you do. Staying on schedule is not just important to patients - it is also highly appreciated by staff members who want to have a lunch break or go home to their families. And it makes for a less stressful environment in the office. Practices that respect that retain better employees.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management