Are You Breaking an Agreement with Your Patients?

Posted on March 27, 2013 by Sandy Pardue

I see practices call patients to try to fill open time by moving them from next week to tomorrow. It’s like they are “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul;” that’s not recommended.

I realize the office is trying to fill the schedule, but I’d like them to focus on all the patients that have outstanding treatment. There are always a lot of those folks that need to get in. Don’t make an agreed upon appointment time with a patient, then call to move it to another time (because you had a “cancellation”). This is NOT a positive PR action; it is sending the wrong message. In addition, once an office makes an agreement, it is bad manners to break it; this sends a message to the patients that people cancel their scheduled appointments and they are trying to fill them at the last minute.

Always ask patients when scheduling if they would like you to call them if something sooner becomes available. If they agree, that’s fine. I understand that there are situations where patients need and want to come in sooner. In these cases, you should say something like, “If we get a change in the schedule, I will call you.”

Set these agreements, in advance, in order to avoid shrinking your patient base.