Q&A: Scheduling the right number of patients

September 19, 2008

How do I figure the number of patients to schedule each day to ensure a reasonable pace for me and a minimal wait for my them?

Q: How do I figure the number of patients to schedule each day to ensure a reasonable pace for me and a minimal wait for them?

A: This can be a complicated task, but you can review your appointments for the past two or three weeks and calculate the average number of patients you saw on those days. You first count the number of patients in the mornings and divide by the number of hours spent seeing those patients. Do the same for the afternoons. Figuring each separately will give you a truer estimate if your pace varies as the day progresses. If you average five patients an hour in the morning and have three hours to see patients on a particular day, figure on scheduling 15 patients for the morning. But assign the scheduling to a staffer who can accurately evaluate the urgency and probable length of each appointment, so she can adjust accordingly. If you still find yourself falling behind or having too much free time, consider enlisting the help of a practice management consultant.