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Why Proper Patient Hand-Off Leads to a Greater Number of Scheduled Treatments


patient hand-off


In every doctor’s office, there is a process that a patient will go through from the time they come in the door to the moment they leave. At every step of the way, someone in the office is responsible for that patient. When it’s time for one staff member to hand-off the patient to the next person in the office, there must be good verbal communication in order for things to go smoothly. Otherwise, mistakes are made and the patient doesn’t receive the treatment they need. 

In order to ensure a proper patient hand-off, you must intentionally put a system in place and train the team. Here are a few ways you can make sure this is happening in your office. 

1. Train Team on The Importance of The Hand-Off

It’s important to explain to everyone in the office why handing off patients smoothly is so important. Here are the top reasons:  

Communication Between The Team

You want to make sure that the staff is communicating pertinent information about the patient between the front and the back. For example, if you are handling the intake on a new patient, the assistant that takes them back needs to be alerted to this.  

Understanding and Sharing The Patient’s Needs

There is a lot of information that people tend to share with the staff that should be communicated to others on the team. If a patient shares they are worried their medical concern will be a problem on an upcoming vacation, the doctor needs to be aware of this. This is a great way to encourage them to schedule treatment soon rather than later. Any time a patient shares a fear or concern, it should be communicated to the rest of the team.

Scheduling The Right Treatments at The Right Time

Communicating between the office staff and the doctor will lead to the patient scheduling their treatments. If the ball is dropped in communication, the patient will walk out without an appointment. Ultimately, this leads to poor patient care and a loss of revenue for the office.  

2. Establish Patient In-Take Processes

From the time someone comes into your office until you check them out, there should be an established in-take process. You will need a process for each type of appointment you offer. To set this process up, answer these questions: 

  • What paperwork do they need to fill out?
  • Where do they go after filling out the paperwork? 
  • Who is responsible for walking them to the room?
  • How should the staff let the doctor know the patient is ready?
  • Who walks them to the front?
  • What is the check-out process?

Map out every step they should take in the office and train the team on the order. This cuts down on confusion and wait times for the patients in your office. 

3. Role Play and Practice The Hand-Offs 

While it seems like it would be simple to hand-off between the team, you can’t take for granted that this is being done. Not everyone knows what information needs to be shared to the next person. Also, it can feel weird to talk about the patient in front of them. 

During a training day, have staff take turns handing off a patient to the next person. Talk through what information should be relayed and give feedback on the execution. 

4. Prepare to Receive The Patient 

Both staff members must take a pro-active approach to patient hand-offs. The person that is communicating must wait for the receiver to be ready to talk. The receiver should stop what they are doing as soon as possible and pay attention to the one that is talking. Communication will not happen if the receiver wasn’t ready to listen. 

These Systems Increase The Number of Scheduled Treatments

When you have a system in place on what a patient needs to do from beginning to end and a process for the team to hand them off, you will see an increase in the number of scheduled treatments. Greater communication between the team will help the person feel confident in your office and more willing to move forward. 

Our Team Helps Get More Patients in The Door

Here at Functional Medicine SEO, we help practitioners increase their leads. We help you get more people calling your office and scheduling their first-time appointment. Once they are in your doors, you have the ability to help them achieve their health goals. 

If you’re ready to increase the number of calls and inquiries to your practice, get in touch with us today. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free strategy call to show you areas that we can improve the SEO on your site. We look forward to hearing from you! 



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