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Office hours change draws more working patients

A change from traditional office hours has proved popular with patients, staff, and physicians at a family practice in Tifton, GA.

It can be difficult for people to get time off work to visit the doctor, and too many such absences can even endanger their jobs.

So practice administrator Christy Blanchett of Family Practice Associates came up with a schedule to accommodate patients—without chalking up excess overtime for her staff.

“When I came on board, this practice was a typical Monday to Friday, 8-to-5 operation. It is risky for people to take off work all the time even to come to the doctor and stressful when an employee has to take a day off or leave early to go take care of personal business (which we all have to do),” Blanchett explains.

Willing to try schedule

“After crunching numbers and taking into consideration the patients’ time, as well as my employees’ needs, I soon came up with a possible solution. I presented new hours of operation to the doctor and owner of the practice to see what he thought. Actually, I thought that he would shoot the idea down considering the hours have been the same since the practice originally opened, but he loved it and was willing to try it,” she says.

There is no loss of hours, “and I do not have to fork out overtime” because the new schedule totals 39 hours “and there is always overtime, so the extra hour prevents me from having to pay so much overtime,” she says.

The new schedule

Here is what Blanchett presented to the doctor:

-Monday    7:30-6:30 (to have an extended day for patients)

-Tuesday    8:00-5:00

-Wednesday    8:00-5:00

-Thursday    8:00-2:00 (no leaving for lunch)

-Friday    8:00-5:00

“I originally wanted to get off early on Friday, but our busiest days are Monday and Friday,” says Blanchett.

“We have been doing these new hours for awhile now, and it has worked out wonderfully. The doctor loves it, our patients love it, and my employees love getting off early one day.”

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