Handling Holiday Scheduling Issues

Hello and welcome to Lunch Lessons with the GURU! In today’s blog I'm trying something different. You have the option to read the blog or watch my video blog on YouTube.

Here's the video blog:

Because I know you may like to read instead of watching the video version, here's the blog I wrote just for you!

Today I want to talk about the holiday season.

Have you ever noticed how people start talking about how busy they are right around the holidays? How it feels like there’s never enough time to get things done. And the new year feels like it’s looming and so much has to happen before it gets here?

This is common for most of us, this feeling of being too busy, having too much to do, and there never being enough time.

But this doesn’t just affect us on the personal side, it can also affect our practices and carry over to patient care. When patients begin to feel the holiday pressure, they want to decrease their visits around the holidays and often throw out excuses for why they can’t schedule. Or they want to same-day cancel at the last minute.

And having to deal with more excuses and possibly feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed around the holidays, our front office team members start to go along with the patients’ excuses for why they can’t get it for care.

We have policy in our clinic. Visits per week should not decrease during the holiday season. In fact, the goal is that we continue to expand right into the new year.

But how do you prevent common patient objections? Well first you need to understand that as a person’s perception of 'busy-ness' increases, they start to feel all 168 hours in the week crush in against them. They literally feel the pressure of their busy schedule and that makes them feel like they can’t take on any more in their lives.

And what’s the first thing they cut out? SELF CARE. Which we all know is the absolute worst thing someone should drop out.

Since we all really want our patients to reach recovery, each member of the team needs realize is that we can’t allow it to be ok for a patient to stop coming or decrease care just because of the holidays or the feeling of being too busy. Because when that happens, when patients pause or decrease care that alone is enough to make them go MIA and that leads to them dropping out AND AN INCREASE IN UNSUCCESSFUL DISCHARGES.

And then there’s no chance they’ll recover.

But along with understanding why this happens and being able to recognize when it’s happening, you want your team to understand how to handle it to prevent scheduling roadblocks or same-day cancellations from now right into the new year.

It’s actually pretty simple.

As they’re scheduling patients over the next several weeks, make sure your Patient Care Coordinators know how to recognize and handle patients who’re feeling the holiday pressures.

When they recognize that a patient is feeling a sense of overwhelm, instead of going along with it and allowing them to decrease care during the holidays, they just need to use this simple script to help the patient find just one hour.

“I understand. You’re feeling a busy and a bit overwhelmed.”

Next, we have to handle the patient and this script has been super helpful for my team:

“Let’s do this. Let’s find ONE hour next week where we can get you in for the care that you need and deserve in order to recover. I have {now offer a day and times]”

Once they have the patient’s agreement for that one hour, they work to find one more.

When they take this approach with patients who are feeling like they’re too busy, it takes away the pressures of the entire week and allows them to focus on just one tiny part where they can get the care they need.


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Wishing you the best, today and always!


I started Front Office GURU to forward the private practice industry and ensure that practice owners had a way to expand and help their practice THRIVE, not just survive...and I've done it over and over again!

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