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How to schedule phone consults to fit into your busy workday

2022-02-14

You’ve got a busy practice, and endless flow of patients, paperwork to catch up on, lab tests to follow up. There are more hours of work than there are hours in the day.

While Virtual Hallway phone consults maximize time, improve patient care, and can provide compensation, we know that it can be difficult to fit consults into your workflow.

Every clinician has a different workflow, so take some time to brainstorm on how Virtual Hallway consults will fit with your daily operations – the payoff will be worth it. Here are some considerations:

Stack ‘em Up

It takes a few minutes to get prepared for a phone call, so a lot of family physicians have found that booking several calls in a row can help maximize their time. That way, they take a moment to open their accounts, their patient charts if necessary and have their phone nearby.

Specialists usually block off at least an hour at a time, so if you have two or three patients who could benefit from a phone consult with a given specialist, you can book those calls all in a row. It not only saves you time, but saves the specialist time too.

Virtual Hallway consults can be booked up to 30 days ahead of time. And the further out you book, the more availability specialists tend to have.

Examine your calendar - When is your low value time?

Even the busiest clinicians have low value time throughout their week. This could be a Friday afternoon while doing paperwork. It could be when you have a few no-shows during the day.

These low value times are good times to make those consult requests.  And if specialists have availabilities, low value times are excellent slots to book phone consults.

Engage your office staff

Most physicians manage their schedules at a high level and appoint their office staff to book appointments, schedule time off, and generally manage clinic operations.

Virtual Hallway offers Practice Group accounts, which allow your office staff to take control of your schedule. For primary care,  a delegate can book consults, type consult request forms, and transfer documents to external EMRs. What we’ve heard from specialist offices is that having this control over call flow actually reduces the workload for administrative staff.

Engaging your office staff with delegate accounts can ensure phone consults are seamlessly integrated into your day.

Key Points
  • Plan ahead
  • Determine when your low value time is
  • Collaborate with your office staff

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