3 Ways to Reduce Patient Cancellation Percentage By Improving Front Office Communication

How well do your clinical and front desk staff communicate?

This is an all-too-common source of chaos and confusion in physical therapy practices. I hear complaints about poor staff communication from practice owners all the time. Why can’t I get everyone to stay the same page? Why does my staff waste so much time going in circles over tasks that should be routine?

This week, I talked about the importance of scheduling all your patients’ visits up front, and how this the easy, no-cost change to scheduling can save practice owners thousands of dollars a month, and tens of thousands a year. (Missed that video? Watch it here.)

The truth is, even the simplest changes to the way you schedule patients can fail to deliver the results you need, if your staff doesn’t communicate effectively.

Consistently effective communication among your team—especially between your clinical and administrative staff—is critical to your practice’s success. The strength of that team-based communication has a direct impact on the experience you’re giving your patients, and on their level of engagement with their plans of care.

It’s also essential to running a systems-based, process-driven practice—the kind of practice that generates the highest revenues and maximizes long-term value.

At Practice Freedom U, we don’t just guide owners in implementing systems. We help owners, managers, and teams improve the communication skills that makes those systems work.

Here are 3 essential things every practice owner should know about fostering strong team communication:

A system isn’t a system if everyone isn’t on board

It only takes one uninformed team member to throw an all-at-once scheduling system off track or damage a relationship with a patient by delivering conflicting information about their plan of care. Our patients put themselves in our hands. They rely on us to take care of them and guide them through the course of their treatment.

Your mission is to deliver consistency, trust, and a seamless patient experience at every point of contact with your practice. That only happens when everyone is following the same playbook. That means sharing the what, how, and why of your scheduling practices and your other systems with every member of your team.

It’s YOUR responsibility to train your staff to take the right actions

The effort and attention you put in to training your staff pays off long-after the onboarding process is complete. Training that’s rushed and inconsistent from employee to employee results in…you guessed it, inconsistent performance and mediocre results.

It also means staff can’t communicate as well as they need to about the systems and policies they’re supposed to be following. Without a coherent, thorough onboarding and training process, your team can’t speak a shared language about your practice’s operations and its mission.

Strong team communication starts at the top

Most physical therapy practice owners know this intellectually, and still fail to live out this idea in their day-to-day leadership.

If you aspire to a communication style that’s built on clarity, thoughtfulness, and respect, but your current communication is emotionally reactive, stressful, and haphazard, you’re not alone.

As leaders, we set the tone for communication in our practices. If we’re consistent and specific in delivering information, our staff will be, too. If we acknowledge our mistakes and gaps in knowledge, our staff will share theirs—and everyone will learn and improve. If we take the time to connect the WHAT of our systems and policies to the WHY of our practice mission, our teams will deepen their commitment to making those systems work at their best, all the time.

That’s a win for your patients and your bottom line.

Simple changes to how you schedule patients can help you capture revenue that’s currently going down the drain, when patients fail to complete their plans of care. To learn how to quickly and easily improve your scheduling system, and save thousands of dollars a month, download my FREE Ultimate Guide to Increasing Patient Visits.