PORTLAND, Ore. – Navigating scheduling is one of the most crucial challenges veterinary hospitals face. iVET360, a company that improves operations for private veterinary hospitals across the United States, developed a strategy, known as Cluster Scheduling, to simplify the scheduling process.
Many veterinary hospital owners and practice managers look at their daily schedules and see them padded with unnecessary pockets of empty time. This happens because ordinarily when a client calls to request an appointment, the client is offered all available time slots. Then, as appointments are filled at random, gaps are created between them. Even short gaps add up, turning into hours of wasted time every single day.
Maximizing appointments is often a struggle, though, as it can be difficult to do so efficiently while still aligning openings with client requests. Not accommodating your clients’ time requests impacts your revenue, reduces client loyalty and benefits your competitors, as dissatisfied clients may seek appointments elsewhere.
If your veterinary hospital suffers from too much downtime, Cluster Scheduling can help. Not only does Cluster Scheduling allow you to schedule your clients as close to their desired time slots as possible, it also increases appointment frequency, reducing nonproductive time. Plus, it gives you more control over the structure of your schedule. With Cluster Scheduling, you can easily set aside longer appointments for time-intensive procedures and exams when needed.
Follow these steps to implement Cluster Scheduling:
Step 1: Use previously scheduled appointments as your schedule’s foundation.
Step 2: When a client requests an appointment, only offer time slots that are immediately before or after previously scheduled appointments.
Step 3: Propose non-clustered time slots only if no grouped appointment times work for the client. When you do this, use the appointment as a base for a new cluster.
On average, Cluster Scheduling allows for 20 to 30 percent more appointments per day, which directly translates to increased practice revenue. This strategy is straightforward and easy to implement, so there is little to no learning curve for your front office staff. Your veterinary practice will see tangible value from this strategy almost immediately after you implement it.
“Many hospitals struggle with training their teams to schedule in an effective manner,” says Heather Romano, iVET360’s managing director of staff development. “Cluster Scheduling can provide a streamlined way to maximize your schedule and create clarity within your team while improving client experience and loyalty. That leads to more clients who stick with you as their veterinary healthcare provider for many years to come.”
iVET360 provides comprehensive marketing, staff development and data analytics solutions for independently owned, primary care veterinary hospitals across the nation. For more information about iVET360’s services, or to register for their free monthly webinar, please visit their website at iVET360.com.
Established in 2013 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, iVET360 is a practice management services company that provides critical support to veterinary hospitals across the nation. Their specialists educate and assist veterinary practices with marketing, staff development and analytics to ensure complete implementation of proven business strategies into the daily activities of the hospital.
Also published on Medium.