Optimizing your scheduling practices is an often overlooked revenue source. Getting the highest volume of patients in your doors while still offering quality services may seem impossible, but there are several steps you can take to accomplish this. Below are several tips to help you optimize your scheduling practices.
Optimizing Scheduling Conflicts
One way to optimize scheduling is to hire an audiology technician, who can perform equipment maintenance and hearing aid repairs, run hearing conservation programs, assist the audiologist with testing, prep patients for ENG and balance testing, keep records, assist in clinical research and perform clerical duties. In short, audiology techs can provide routine/not critical clinical services while indirectly supervised by an audiologist.
Revenue Opportunity with Audiology Techs
Below is a breakdown of revenue opportunity by adding just one audiology tech. The following results are calculated with an audiogram-to-hearing-aid-fitting rate of 65 percent, a binaural rate of 80 percent and hearing test revenue calculated at $60 per audiogram.
|Number of Audiologists||1||1|
|Number of Techs||0||1|
|Number of Audios||300||500|
|Number Patients Purchased||195||325|
|Number of Hearing Aids Sold||351||585|
|HA Revenue @$2000 ASP||$702,000||$1,170,000|
In a cost-benefit analysis one Fuel member in the Midwest found that adding an audiology tech freed up 46 percent of the audiologist’s time in appointments, increased patient encounters by 4813 and increased revenue by $500,000 per year.
Triage Strategy with Patients
Triaging is a process in which patients are classified according to their symptoms and their conditions to see the right provider at the right time. To streamline the triage process, create an audiology triage guide for your front office staff so they know when to send a patient directly to an audiologist before seeing the physician, such as when:
- Symptoms suggest sudden hearing loss.
- Patient experiences ear pain.
- Patient has vestibular symptoms.
- Patient reports tinnitus.
- Their condition is related to the on-call physician’s specialty.
An efficient triage model flows from check in -> audiologist -> exam room -> check out.
Finally, one of the best ways to maximize your schedule is to implement block scheduling. Block scheduling means you allocate blocks of time for specific appointment types. When you do this, make sure you have a balanced mix of revenue generating appointments each week. There are several advantages of this: it helps you prioritize your schedule to ensure there are always open times for the top revenue generating appointments such as hearing aid evaluations and fittings, and it ensures times for patients to schedule evaluations and fittings in a timely manner after receiving their audiogram results.
To learn more about maximizing your audiologists’ schedules or to hire a tech for your practice, contact your regional manager today.