A frequent question that I hear is “how do I track everything in my practice.” I totally understand. There’s a lot of spinning plates in the air when you are head clinician and office manager rolled up in one. And if you’ve added employees to your practice–even if you have administrative support–you’re juggling even more.
While EHR programs are great for storing records and managing the onboarding process with client forms and consents, I’ve found that they are not super for tracking clients. While you can keep your active and inactive clients separated (and you should definitely be terminating and inactivating clients who are not seen frequently), these programs don’t do a stellar job at managing the nuances of clients in a variety levels of care. It’s not easy to look at a list of active clients and determine who is seen weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc. For those of us–myself included–who frequently transition clients over time from weekly appointments to less than weekly appointments, we need a way to quickly look at our caseload and determine whether or not we are full so that if we receive a new client inquiry, we know whether to proceed or refer them to a trusted colleague.
I have a quick solution. There’s a small amount of math involved but don’t let that stop you. Your first step will be to determine what your optimal number of weekly appointments is. Spoiler alert: this is NOT your caseload size if you schedule some people less than weekly. If you’re not sure how your optimal number of appointments affects your personal schedule and your financial goals based on your per session rate, I would suggest taking a look at the money chapter in my Intentional Private Practice Workbook, which you can link to, here.
Once you have that figure, list out all of your active clients. I like to do this in Trello because it is easy to manipulate and move people. I have a board called “active clients” and I create a card for each client. However, I DO NOT use their names on the cards because Trello is not necessarily a fully confidential platform. I do use a “code” of sorts that lets me figure out who each client is, quickly. Next to my client identifier, I note “weekly,” “biweekly,” “3 weeks,” or “monthly.” I also create labels using cards that serve as visual dividers between my frequency settings, and assign each label card it’s own color. This takes advantage of the visual nature of Trello and let’s me look at the board quickly to make decisions.
Not a Trello user? You could do this on paper using index cards. Write your frequencies in pencil so that you can erase them as needed in the future. Better yet, take a look at Trello and clean up all those scraps of paper on your desk, giving you the ability to access your important info on your computer or on the go through the app. My Get Organized with Trello course will show you just how to do this and give you access to templates for my 5 top practice organization tools that you can customize to fit your business.
Now that you have a list of all your active clients in Trello or on paper, the next part is easy. Count up all your weekly clients. They happen once in one week, or 1/1… which is 1. (See, I told you there was math, but you can totally handle it). Let’s say you have 10 weekly clients, so 10/1 is equal to 10. Your every other week clients are next. Add them up. They happen once in two weeks. So if you have 4 every other week clients, you’re fraction is 4/2, or 2. They count as a 2 in your weekly appointment load. Every three week clients would be total count divided by 3. If you have 3 folks you see every three weeks, this would add a 1 to your caseload. Finally, monthly folks are divided by 4… if you had 5 of these, it would be 5/4 or 1 and ¼. Now add this all together. In my example that would be 14 ¼. No… you can’t do ¼ of an appointment. But this helps you estimate your caseload.
Recognizing one has 14.25 appointments in a week, on average, is a lot different than looking at a list of 21 active clients. For most of us, our brains can’t look at that list and quickly make sense of what that means on average per week. But by organizing the information and making some quick calculations, you’ll have a better read on your availability.
Need more organizational support? Check out the Trello Course and then hop onto the FB closed group to chat and ask your questions! An organized practice with all the info you need for smooth sailing can be at your finger tips.