4 Tips for DCs to optimize patient flow

Think about all the different offerings or patient stations at your practice. In addition to traditional chiropractic manipulation treatments, a typical Chiropractic office may also offer acupuncture, or nutrition/dietary supplement advice, or massage therapy and much more. The patient flow for each service has its own time pace, and if patients are taking advantage of multiple services, the logistics of moving them through your practice can become very complicated and perhaps bog down your schedule.

1) Find the true wait time your patient’s experience.
Invite a handful of friends or family members who are not known by your staff to help you. Arm them with a “Professional Courtesy/no charge for services letter” to be presented at check-in*, and a patient flow tracking form to be filled out privately during the visit.

Patient Visit Time Tracker Form ThumbDownload an example of a Patient Flow Tracking Form.

You may need to use this form as a base and customize for your practice.

Find a discreet way to collect the forms. Then, aggregate patient timing information to make a basic flow chart detailing average time for each stop along the patient’s journey. Work with staff to reduce bottlenecks.

2) Test your theories.
If patients frequently find themselves waiting around your office, there are certain things to consider. Are your appointment slots long enough? Do you have enough staff to process your patients? Should you tweak your current system to have fewer stops for patients along the way? Pick an issue, make a change. You may need a second round of friend visits to see if the changes reduced waiting times and/or improved the patient experience.

3) Be thoughtful about layout and signage.
Analyze your office layout to be sure that parking, reception, the waiting room and the treatment rooms will be encountered by patients in a logical order, with few complications. Placing signs around the office saying things like “Please return to reception to check out” or “Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate you if you arrive 15 minutes late or more” could help to clarify parts of your patient’s journey.

4) Allow technology to help you streamline.
Medical instruments such as the PulStar® may reduce the diagnosis and treatment time, streamlining the patient’s largest chunk of time at your office. The instrument may also increase patient satisfaction with their results.

There are two factors that may save time and/or increase patient satisfaction: 1) The PulStar is used for both analysis and treatment. The computer images show where the patient’s spine and surrounding muscles are experiencing dysfunction. 2) After the initial visit, when you analyze the patient’s spine and explain to them how to read the reports, the patient will understand the treatment and be able to see the results. PulStar chiropractors report that they save a lot of time simply because their patients understand the process, leading to very little confusion about their progress.

“With the PulStar not only am I able to eliminate patients’ symptoms more quickly, but I can also show patients why they should continue treatment.  The patients are always excited to see their graphs.” -Bruce A. Weiland DC – California

Click here to schedule a free 30-minute online demo.
*Ensure that Professional Courtesy/No Charge visits are allowed in your State. Generally this has been allowable if the discount/no-charge applies to the entire bill, not just the part paid by the patient.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *