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Clinical Solutions Blog

How to Schedule More Patients (without adding more space)

Posted by Rick Lau on Nov 1, 2016 5:00:00 PM

How to Schedule More Patients (without adding more space)


In my coaching program, I'm helping one of my clients expand into a larger space. He's upgrading to 3600 SF and now has close to 30 clinicians.

Since I've been working with this client, he has been growing at a rate of 15% each quarter and is seeing record profits flooding in.  In addition, he has over 40 Google reviews with a 4.6 rating.

Another great indicator of the solid business platform we’ve been building is, he hasn't had a single clinician leave in the last two years. He also has a bench of physiotherapist and chiropractors lined up to work with him in future when new clinician places open up.

If you're like most clinics, you may currently have between 1500 to 2500 SF, that’s pretty standard. If you work with me in my Clinic Accelerator Program, we would flood your clinic with new patients, and pretty soon, just like my client above, you will run of room at your clinic.

The obvious solution would be to slash patient appointment times and see more patients in one hour. But we know how difficult it can be to convince your clinicians to do that. And, your focused on great customer service so you don’t really want to cut into patient time.

The other obvious solution is to get more space and expand your clinic. But then there’s negotiating new leases, working out new locations, not to mention the great expense involved that you’re not yet ready for.

So, how can you schedule more patients without having to add more space or another clinic location?

The answer is to systemize and optimize your space. And I’m going to share exactly how to do that.

We’ll talk about:

  • Optimizing your schedule to increase booking rates
  • How flex rooms can open up ample opportunities and how to set them up
  • 4 effective ways to schedule more patients
  • How to get your clinicians onboard with the new changes

Let’s go.

4 Effective Ways to Schedule More Patients

1) Optimize your schedule

Do you have clinicians who work Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings and Thursday afternoons? Or maybe they work just work a few days a week? 

After coaching so many clinic owners, I see this is a pretty common setup and it’s the worst setup you can have for your clinic!

Not only is it bad for patients, it's not very efficient.

Think about a patient who wants to see your physiotherapist. It's way easier to tell them to come 3 times a week when your schedule is the same every day and the clinician works every day. For example, they can come Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 11am.

On the other hand, if they only work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the same patient would need to see a different clinician on Friday and in most cases they simply won’t want to do that.

The best, most efficient schedule is to have two shifts per room - 7am to 2pm and 1pm to 8pm. For every 3 treatment beds, your can book 3 physiotherapy patients per hour or book 40 patients per day.  So if you have 9 treatment beds, your should be able to book 120 patients per day or have annual revenues of $1,800,000.  

If you want to boost your patient engagement, having this schedule will allow for more frequent and easier patient appointments. Keep in mind the more consistent and regular the schedule, the easier for the patient to book with their chosen therapist, the happier the patient will be, and the more revenue you make, too.


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2) Create flexible rooms

Within most clinics, it's also pretty common to have one room dedicated to a massage therapist, another room for the physiotherapists, and yet another dedicated to the chiropractic clinicians.

Overall, this isn’t very efficient and doesn’t optimize the use of space. Much of the time, one room could be empty, when it really could be used.

What I suggest is creating at least a couple of flex room. A flex room is a room that can be used by anybody - massage therapist, physiotherapists, and chiropractic clinicians. Then, in those busy times you don’t have to allocate clinicians to a dedicated ‘physiotherapy room.' You can schedule them into the flex room anytime.

One of the obstacles people often ask about when I suggest this is the type of bed being used. After all, chiropractors have different needs to massage therapists, right?

That's why I recommend the Chiropractic Powerlift Electric Massage Table, as the best bed to put in your flex rooms. This bed can be adjusted to suit all types of situations. Then you can stock the room with a variety of tools that can be used by all the clinicians.


3) Open on Saturdays

Have you calculated the number of calls you miss on a Saturday?

Chances are it’s quite a lot!

Plain and simple, if you’re not opening on Saturdays, you’re missing out on a ton of business!

If you’re not open on the weekends at all, that means 28% of your space is not being utilized in that month.     

Check out your competitors.  So if other clinics are willing to work on Sunday, why can't your business be open?

4) Open on Sundays 

Hardly anyone does this so it’s one sure way to ensure increased numbers and position yourself ahead of the competition.

Trust me, your Sundays will actually be busier than your Saturdays. Think about walk in clinics. Are they open on Sunday? Of course they are.  

So if doctors are willing to work on Sunday, why can't your business be open?

There are a ton of patients that just can’t find the time to get treatment during the week, and they need your help!

You might have to offer a premium to the clinicians working on the Sunday shift, but you can also charge an increased premium too. And even if you keep a standard price to keep patients happy, I think it’s worth it. Think of it like this, it’s way more cost effective than adding more space at your clinic or expanding to a new location.

How to get your clinicians onboard with the new changes

Okay, after reading this, you may be thinking: How on earth am I going to convince my therapists to make these changes? Surely none of them want to work on Sundays or in the evenings, and they are already used to their fixed routine.

Sure, it can be difficult but remember, you are the boss!

The best time to implement changes such as these is when there is staff turnover, renovations, contract renewals, or if you’re implementing a new EMR. 

The other way to look at it is, when you create a business that attracts not only new patients but clinicians who want to work with you, make days at work and split shifts part of their contract. You will also be surprised by how many people will work on the Saturday, Sunday or evening shifts, especially if they really want to work at your company. In fact, in many cases, the clinicians have no issue with it at all.

For example, the client I mentioned at the beginning of this article, he was very fearful that he wouldn't find a physiotherapist to work in the evenings Monday to Friday. It turned out he was wrong. When he advertised the position, he ended up having three people who applied for that position because they wanted to work with his clinic so bad.  Plus he had so many new patients, he was able to guarantee 20 new patients per month.  

You can always have your new grads or the new staff working at your clinic, work the evening shifts or the weekends. And then you can have the senior clinicians or the clinicians who are high performers (my preference and seniority) work the best shifts.

The point is, there are always ways to work around it. And there are always people willing to take the work if it’s there, no matter what shifts are involved.

Start by taking a look at your current scheduling structure and think about what we’ve discussed here, what you might change, and then go about implementing those changes.

I bet you’ll soon see a rapid increase in patients and revenue, and that makes for a very happy clinic owner!


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