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Consult scheduling communication

Exit forum ID Forum Discussion Consult scheduling communication

This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by   Christopher Stepien October 24, 2018 at 10:59 am.

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    Brandon Cohen DC, CSCS

      What do you have your front desk say when people are calling in for a consult?

      I’ve had 6 consults schedule this week, and 5 cancel (4 called to cancel before coming in, and 1 showed up started filling out the paperwork, and when she found out we didn’t take her insurance, left) this week, which seems like way too many.

      I worry we are making it too complicated. It seems to have been working fine until this week, so I don’t think the sky is falling, but clearly, something is amiss. We are working on being transparent for everything, but wonder if we are giving too much detail.

      Here’s the nuts and bolts

      “Let’s get you scheduled for the consult. The purpose of the consult is to talk with Dr. Cohen, go over your current condition, discuss your past medical history and find out if you are a good candidate for the exam.”

      If there are no questions or dispuations, we just move on. If they ask about cost (this might be confusing). “The cost of the consult is $50, and the examination is $150, if Dr. Cohen thinks you are a good candidate for the exam, the $50 gets applied to the exam, and you will only owe $100.”

      Is that too detailed?


      James Phipps

        I don’t have the cost of the examination come up during the consult phone call unless the patients specifically asks. I think if someone is looking for insurance, it will overwhelm them if you hit them with the 50 dollar charge over the phone to hold their spot then tell them they will owe 100 more for the exam. Once they meet you and understand your value, paying for the exam isn’t such a big ask.


        Carl Nottoli, DC

          Try to stay on the consultation step. We do hold a $50 deposit for the consultation. That way if they no show or cancel less than 24 hours they forfeit that. That way they have some skin in the game.

          You could say, “If you are qualified for the examination the $50 will be put toward the exam.” You could also leave it out. There’s nothing that great about that statement.

          No need to get into the exam costs, treatment costs, insurance etc unless asked. If it’s on your website that’s very transparent. They are responsible to ask and do some homework.

          In the end think of it this way, what would you need or like to hear if you were the patient calling in?


          Brandon Cohen DC, CSCS

            Thanks, guys. I thought patient communication was difficult. Its way more challenging to get your staff to say the right things and communicate the right way. We are working on not oversharing and over explaining everything. We are focusing on saying only the words we need to say, and not the words we could say. “Talk less, smile more.” I told you guys that ID all comes back to Hamilton.

            We have dropped all but one insurance, and 2 weeks ago, I overheard my staff ask if a new patient had insurance, only to find out it was not the plan where we participate. We had an unnecessarily long conversation about why that’s not a good idea. Now there’s an obvious sign for her that says, “Let the patient ask about insurance.”

            We are going through examples in training, but I have no way of knowing if they are really getting it right during patient interactions.


            Carl Nottoli, DC

              Explain WHY this communication is so important to her performance, the patient’s success, and the overall mission of being the best clinic on the West Coast. After that, then the details matter.

              We aren’t looking for perfect, we are looking for constant progress. Bring up how recording some conversations would be very helpful in her training and your understanding to help improve the situation.


              Christopher Stepien

                Brandon, are you qualifying patients yet?

                I wouldn’t want to have any conversation around consults, exams, fees, etc., without that process.

                It doesn’t help the patient FEEL the pain yet.

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