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Compensate for no-shows and tardiness

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This doctor's scheduling strategy minimizes problems caused by late and no-show clients

"Time is money," says Dr. James W. Randolph, owner of Animal General Hospital P.A., in Long Beach, Miss. And Dr. Randolph's scheduling policy shows he doesn't plan to lose either: "We always double-book clients who repeatedly miss appointments," he says. "Now if one client's a no-show, I'm still working. And if he or she does show up, I just work the client in."

To combat chronic tardiness, Dr. Randolph's team members keep track of clients' tardiness. "If they're consistently 15 minutes late, weíll fudge their appointment time. If we want them to arrive at 3 p.m., we tell them their appointment is at 2:45 p.m. then write '(2:45)' in pencil next to the 3 p.m. listing," he says. "These policies have worked well for us for nearly 20 years and they keep clients from wasting our time. If the client happens to show up at the earlier time, we can always find something to keep them busy, such as collecting the stool sample, gathering a history, or administering the heartworm test."

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