1. Give Yourself Margin
This may sound counter-intuitive. Why have a 10 to 15-minute break between appointments instead of running up to the end of the hour and then switching over to the next patient? This actually saves you time and improves the quality of service for your patients. When you have 10-15 minutes between sessions, you have time to grab a coffee, hit the bathroom, and review your notes without interfering with the start of your next session. If you’re driving from point A to point B, give yourself extra time when scheduling appointments so that you won’t be late.
2. Provide Telehealth Consultations
While not every therapist can provide telehealth consultations, those who can be able to save time by doing so. You can log in and talk to your patients. When done, you can log into the next session. A side benefit of telehealth consultations is that is it easier on the caregiver, assuming they have easy access to the internet and telehealth portal. They don’t have to prepare someone for leaving the house, load them into the car, and drive to an appointment.
You might also like: 5 Ways Telehealth is Advancing Modern Healthcare to the Next Stage
3. Provide Advice to Caregivers to Streamline Service
As a therapist, you’re in an excellent position to provide caregiver tips. You might advise them on medication regimens or care routines that help them get ready faster. These time management tips should be given to those who are chronically late.
4. Have a Local Focus
Time spent driving from location to location is rarely paid for by customers or insurance. You could save time and increase your income by refusing to drive 50 miles to serve one patient. Establish a service area, and refer those outsides of it to someone in their area. You’ll often receive similar referrals from them for patients in your geographic area.
If you live in Tarrant County, you can save time by working with a local home healthcare service like Trinity Home and Health Care. Their caregivers could arrive within 20 minutes of your call if you’re in need of respite care or assistance getting someone to a doctor’s appointment.
5. Ask for a Commitment
Therapists shouldn’t be too flexible when dealing with patients. That isn’t fair to you. Ask them to commit to a date and time for appointments. You can be forgiving if they’re 10 minutes late logging in or 20 minutes late to traffic. This is where you can give them advice on how to avoid being late again. If they won’t commit to a date and time, then they may not be interested, and you’d rather refuse to schedule an appointment than have them cancel or refuse to see you.
6. Remind and Reinforce Commitments
If someone has trouble remembering appointment times, send them reminders via postcards and emails. You may want to recommend that the family bring in a home health care service to ensure that the person takes their medication and keeps medical appointments. In these cases, you’ll need to communicate any appointment dates with caregivers and family members. For those who are chronically late or decide not to show up, charge a missed appointment fee.
7. Ask for Directions
If you’re driving to someone’s house, ask for the full address and location information. For example, you don’t want to pull onto ABC Place when they actually live on ABC Drive. Perhaps they live in building B behind building A in the apartment complex. Ask about parking before you leave, since you don’t want to be late because you were driving around looking for free parking. If they can advise you about free parking, that’s more money in your pocket. Ask about gate codes, if they live in a gated community.