Friday, September 21, 2007

Swing Shift

Extending office hours from 5 to 6 pm required some negotiation. Our receptionists have agreed to try a couple of late shifts. This brought up some unanticipated issues. As it starts to get dark by 6 pm, our staff won't be comfortable walking home from work, so we'll need to provide transportation. Also, we need to check that our office building will still be unlocked at that hour.

The real test of the plan is getting physician bodies behind desks. Amanda made a sign-up sheet for two evenings next week and circulated it to the urologists. She did a nice sales job. Four doctors signed up for one evening and two for the other. Six doctors at four patients per hour means an extra 24 appointments off the backlog that week. I hope this is a small change we can sustain.

P.S. Turns out that blogging is mildly addictive. There’s a spin-off from the Advanced Access project that I’m pursuing at Come on over and check out “Plain Brown Wrapper”!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Summertime Blues, Part 2

Our last team meeting was a little glum. As noted previously, summer slowed our efforts to work down our backlog.

Now we're trying to come up with a plan that will address our new target (almost 100 extra patients per week) in order to work down the backlog by the end of November. We thought about adjusting our target date: if we push it back by another few months, that would ease the work. It would also prolong this initial phase of eliminating the backlog. Already, I'm feeling enthusiasm is dampening in the office. As the project proceeds (drags on?), it's harder to keep the energy up. Moving back the target date will be like dying the death of a thousand cuts. We need a new plan. Something bold.

We already thought about asking the "half-timers" to work a few extra days seeing backlog patients. Donna mentioned that, many years ago, the urologists in our office had come to work on Saturday mornings to see patients. Amanda wondered whether working one evening a week would be more acceptable than working a weekend. Either one would be a tough sell, given the hours we're already working. Maybe we just need to see what happens during September and October, now that we're back up to full steam again.