In this article we explore how to implement strategies and processes to ensure you minimise your admin burden and maximise your time spent doing what you want; treating patients, growing the business, spending time with loved ones etc. We want to help you achieve the right work-life balance.In a previous article about reducing admin burden, we talked about Enquiries, Follow-Ups and Marketing with some questions to help you understand the areas that might be causing problems and some quick fixes.
In this article, we continue with those themes but focus on the proven solutions that can save you a minimum of an hour a day and stop admin from becoming a burden. It does not matter in which order you read these articles.
1. Make Enquiries Efficient
For starters would you rather finish clinic at 1730 and have 5 voicemails to try and get hold of or four confirmed bookings and one voicemail?
You may like speaking to your patients but 86% of patients want to be able to see live availability and book online thus if you do not have this as an option you will be losing patients as well as adding to your admin burden.
If have online booking linked up on all your channels then whichever route patients come to you via e.g. Website, Facebook Page, directory, affiliate sites etc they can see your availability and book in with you.
As such then implementing an effective online booking system is the single biggest time saving you can make. This is no longer time-consuming or expensive and easily wins in a price vs value debate.
84% of patients are happy to pay upfront which removes the time and awkwardness of asking for payment at the appointment and most importantly enables you to still get paid if the patient doesn’t show up. It’s thus worth your while to ensure you use software that can process payments. Some software is also clever enough to allow you to take deposits instead of full payment upfront and even vary it depending on if it’s a new patient or not.
Enquiries pro tip
For emails/Facebook messenger etc set auto-responses containing useful information including that if the enquiry is about availability then they can see that on your website and/or Facebook (provide link) and book in there. This minimises the unnecessary contact, ensures you can give higher priority to the important contacts, and the patients are happier as they have the option to book how and when they want.2. Finesse Follow-Ups
It has been proven that reminders can dramatically decrease no show rates, which are one of the biggest frustrations for many therapists. With the rise in the busy email inbox then SMS (text message) reminders are becoming the best way to remind people. Manually sending out the SMS’s can be time-consuming in itself and it's easily automated with most online booking software.
Getting patients to fill out forms prior to coming to the appointment was one of your top tips in part 1 and the better practice management software will allow you to add attachments to booking emails for patients to fill in beforehand. This saves the time before or during the appointment completing forms and the return form can then either be saved or scanned into your electronic patient notes.
Follow-Ups Pro Tip
Some therapists turn the SMS’s off as they don’t want to pay the 5-10p they normally cost. However, if your appointment is worth £40 then even at 10p per SMS if you stopped just one no show per 400 SMS then you’ve still made a profit. Given most therapists average at least 1 no show a week then such a simple thing can save you a lot of wasted time and lost money.
3. Maximise Marketing Focus
If you’ve taken the time to have a clear value proposition, i.e. the value you provide to patients is clear for them to understand, know who your perfect customers are and where to access them then you should already know how you can market to them and what messaging to use to maximise the effectiveness of time spent. If you haven’t done this then request a template to help at firstname.lastname@example.org and work through this.
Marketing Pro Tip
Too often on Sports Injury Fix we see therapists thinking they’re saving time by rushing a description and simply putting “Sports Therapy” or a long list of services with no explanation. They are making an assumption that potential patients will understand and know why that means they should see that therapist, how it will help them and what it even is.As such this marketing is less effective and the therapist has to spend longer doing other marketing elsewhere. Don't make this mistake.
If you're going to advertise/market yourself then take the extra few minutes to do it well. If unsure then ask some of your existing customers for feedback. People are polite so if you ask them if they like something most will say yes even if they hate or don't understand it. This can be avoided using specific questions, such as which one of these two options do you prefer? What aspects do you like and how could it be even better?Summary
Taking the time to action and digest this information will save you significant amounts of time in the long run, at least an hour a day. There is also an episode of The SIF Podcast that provides further tips.
It may feel hard to find the time or overwhelming to start with but if you break it down into the bite-sized chunks listed here it makes it manageable. Equally, it is an ongoing process of little and often management to finesse the processes you have in place to keep them working the best they can for you and saving you lots of time in the long run.
We see it all too often that people take a rushed approach then blame everyone apart from themselves for it not working. That's not a happy place to be in.
If you've read this far then it's clearly an area of interest/concern thus would you:
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