The Dashboard Series – Consultations

Jan 12, 2018

Patient consultations are key to your practice’s true potential and success!

The great advantage of being a healthcare provider is that you have instant access to a captive audience with a demand for your services and expertise. If you’re diligent and conscientious about running your practice and making every appointment count, as most clinical practitioners in the industry are, your potential to succeed is almost guaranteed!

Key to your practice’s earning potential and success is the number of patients you’re able to see every day.

Essentially, the most valuable asset to your business is customers who are patients – and that’s why the number of consultations you’re able to facilitate is used as a foundation metric on your practice dashboard.

How many patients you’re seeing per day, week and month, relative to a year or two ago, is like your business thermometer; without even looking at your turnover, you can ascertain how well your practice is doing compared with previous years.

The more patients you’re able to see, the greater your practice’s income.  Consistent, growing income means paid expenses and increased profits!

Generally, most clinicians spend half an hour with a patient, and for more complex cases about an hour. So, based on your trading hours, you should easily be able to calculate the number of slots you have available each day and week to determine your potential monthly patient capacity.

If you extrapolate this number to the annual average and multiply it by the return ratio (how often patients return) you should be able to calculate your potential number of clients, database or patient cards.

For example:

Practice X trades from 08h30 – 18h00 daily and from 08h00 – 13h00 on Saturday.  There is a full time practitioner employed who has 4 afternoons off per month, and works every second Saturday.

Patients are seen every half hour; the practitioner takes 1 hour lunch break and two 30 minute tea breaks each day.

08h30 – 10H30 = 4 slots


11h00 – 13h30 = 5 slots


14h30 – 16h00 = 3 slots


16h30 – 18h00 = 3 slots


15 Potential Patients slots per day,

15 X 4 (full week days) + 9(1 half day in the week) + 10(Saturday) = 79 patients per week

79 X 4.5 (weeks per month) = 355 patients per month x R600 = R 213 000.

355 x 10 months per year (based on 21.67 days annual leave and 13 public holidays) = 3550 Patients per year.

If you charge medical aid rates of R600 per consultation then your potential annual income for standard consultations alone could amount to R 2 130 000.

This is a theoretical example but if you fill your own numbers into the following table it will give you an indication of why it’s so important to monitor and know this number. Plus, it becomes very obvious what the results will be if you’re able to see patients every 15 minutes!

Number of Patients per hour 1   2  
Day 8   15  
Week 36   79  
Month 36 x 4.5 = 162   79 x 4.5 = 355  
Year 1620 R972 000 3550 R2 130 000
Return ratio 1 yrs 4536   9940  

Based on fixed variables of operating hours and capacity, this table can help you to significantly increase your patient turnover and realise your practice’s true potential. Any changes to these variables will directly alter the potential.

While the majority of practices operate on an appointment basis – “walk- ins” should be considered the icing on the cake. Do you have a clearly defined policy that the front office are trained on regarding patients who arrive without an appointment?  Without compromising the service offered to patients who have made an appointment, those who “walk-in” should be professionally received and accommodated.  The current economy does not allow us to turn anyone away – always consider the potential of turning someone’s crisis into a positive “word of mouth” story for your practice.

So, in order to take your business to the next level, ask yourself: how much more efficiently am I able to manage my staff and time – and how many more consultations could my practice comfortably accommodate each day on a sustained basis?

Success is in the numbers.

Industry insights to maximise the success of your practice!

If you’re in need of personalised and professional advice on how to run your practice more efficiently, in-line with current industry trends and legislative guidelines, get in touch with Alison Maytham at Vizibiliti Management Services today.

Vizibiliti Management Services – Creating clarity, Enabling Focus



“There are many different factors that determine the success of your practice – but, as a busy healthcare professional focusing on the needs of your patients, you may not always have the time to focus on the many demanding, and often complex, facets of managing your business. Vizibiliti provides you with easy access to insightful, comprehensive practice and business management solutions and advice across all stages of your business journey – from establishing, growing or closing your practice.”

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