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Late Patients

What do you do with Late Arriving Patients? 5-10-20-30 minutes late……



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19 Answers

It depends on the patient and the circumstances. Chronically late patients will not be seen after 10 minutes. It isn’t fair to stress me out or make me rush. The patient after the late patient deserves to be seen on time and get a full appointment and my full attention.

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We have new patients sign an “office policy” which states that if they arrive to an appointment more than 10 minutes late, they will be asked to reschedule. It’s just not fair to the patients that arrive on time to wait because of someone else’s inconsiderateness. Needless to say, my office rarely runs late; both hygiene and doctor!

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Our office usually sees them. Dr will see his pts no matter how late as he is usually behind schedule anyways. I will see them up to 10 mins late. After that they can choose to wait and be seen by the dr or r/s.

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5-10 minutes I will see them, 15- plus I will evaluate the schedule to see if time can be made up.. offer patient just exam and x-rays (I have an assistant so my time would not be needed) and reschedule for prophy. At end of day if they are 15 minutes late they are rescheduled.

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After 15 minutes, we reschedule. Doing this just once usually ensures they will be on time the next appointment.

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If the schedule is full I’ll take them no more than 15 min late…..if there are openings later in the day they are offered it or reschedule….

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As long as they are willing to wait we see them no matter how late they are.

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We see everyone and try to work it into the schedule even if the patient show up on a wrong day or wrong time

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Depends on the schedule for the day and the type of patient. After 20 minutes late I ask them to reschedule unless I have an opening afterwards. We call patients once they are 10 minutes late to see what’s up. If I can do just the prophy I may reschedule for exam/X-rays. I daily keep patients waiting more than a few minutes and expect the same courtesy from them. Of course things do happen and I am willing to try to make it work for the patient, especially if they called to say they are running late. Repeat offenders are rescheduled to try to make a point, if 20 or more minutes late.

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I wish it were up to me. The front desk makes that decision. I work in a high volume clinic setting so we see everyone. 2-3 hours late sometimes. They will however typically turn away people right before lunch and at the end of the day after 15 mins.

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For me, I will see them up to 15 min late. If they are later I will do exam, x-rays and PC then reschedule prophy.

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At 10 minutes late I call them, at 15 it is considered cancelled unless they have contacted us to see if the schedule will accommodate their tardiness. I always thank them when they call and try to fit them in the schedule. There are some who are chronically late and we do have a cancellation fee for those who abuse the schedule.

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I reschedule after 10 min usually. If it is a slow day I will see them.

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I generally will take a patient 5-10 minutes late because sometimes there are valid reasons such as traffic, lost track of time, etc. Sometimes it’s not my choice because the receptionist will call after 5 minutes and tell them we have plenty of time to see them.
Usually, I will refused treatment after 15 – 20 minutes because my time is important and my schedule is tight. I do not have an assistant and we don’t offer to take x-rays and do an exam only so they have to be rescheduled.

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Tardiness is a huge pet peeve of mine! I commute 55 miles (one way) and in the past five years have been late once due to a major accident I got stuck behind. I leave early enough to accommodate for school buses, trains, tractors, etc etc…..these are just some of the excuses I get. Patients that are habitually late are confirmed 15 minutes prior to their appointed time. Depending on the schedule I may see late patients, if it’s 15 minutes or more they are usually rescheduled regardless. It’s not fair to the patients who honor their “appointed” time!

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In my office we will typically see patients if they are 20 min late and sometimes if they are 30 mins late. I do have a hygiene assistant who helps. My bosses philosophy is, if they are late give them a cleaning until their hour is up. So, 20 minutes late, they get a 40 minute cleaning. Note it in the chart and go back over spots that you missed or didn’t have time to do at their next recall. Patients are receptive to this and usually won’t be late again. You can only care as much as your patient does.

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My boss wants all his patients happy, so it doesn’t matter how late they are. However I refuse after 20 minutes because I only get 45 min as it is. Patients have come to expect this, and its annoying. Not to mention I always run late because I only have 45 minutes for adult prophy appt. I rarely can stay on time because I refuse to do “what I can”

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After 15 minutes we do not see a patient. If it’s a SCRP appt, we will reschedule after 10 min because we schedule 1 hour blocks for 1 quad and it’s just not enough time to get pt numb and scale thoroughly. We don’t charge for missed appts or late appts, but we do however schedule them out a month. They learn to be on time and to not miss appointments, or they won’t get in for awhile.

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I work in pediatric public health and our new policy is after 5 minutes you ask the hygienist and usually after 10 its automatic reschedule. We see 20 pts. a day with paper charts and film x-rays. It takes forever to do anything and we just never know if it will be an easy kid or something that will take longer. I hate turning them away but I would never catch up!

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