By Christina Blatchford.
This is a good question. When adding hours, you need to look at your purpose for adding a day. Examine your concept of capacity vs. demand. Capacity is the number of days of patient care, and demand is how many patients you have to fill those spaces. When you add supply, you do not necessarily increase demand, meaning, opening on Saturday does not mean an increase in patients without additional marketing efforts.
Are you booked to goal on days you’re currently open? How long do people need to wait for a new patient appointment? If answer to “are you booked” is no, then adding a Saturday will just spread your current production into another day, which is not a good choice. For the new patient waiting period, we like to see new patient appointments available within two weeks or less. If scheduling new patients is not a challenge in your office, then adding a Saturday may not be the best choice.
Other important items to consider are: Who will staff Saturdays? Will you continue to find the best team if you offer Saturdays? Will you and your team take a Monday off if you work Saturdays? The team, including the doctor, needs to reenergize by taking time away from the office. You’re all better performers when you’re rested and rejuvenated.
What you choose to do now will brand your office for the future. Again, what is your purpose? Do you want to be known for Saturday appointments?
Saturdays can be a good day for people who aren’t able to take time off during the week. Emergencies can be a big part of a Saturday, however, we typically see changes in schedules depending on the weather. You may have a completely booked Saturday, but a bright sunny day may lead to lots of cancellations, and your staff will have missed a beautiful day. If you decide on Saturdays, do it slowly and consider opening one Saturday a month. If it is consistently booked to goal, then add more Saturdays.