Cost of Appointment Scheduling
The Cost of Appointment Scheduling
The average total cost of scheduling an appointment by phone is thought to be $1 - $5 per appointment. To come up with an estimate for your own practice, we recommend working through the examples below and adjusting the numbers to try to match your situation.
Our recommendation is to approach the question from multiple angles to get a sense of the upper and lower bounds - if you have another way of attacking this question, email us, we'd love to hear it!
Method A: 1 Receptionist per 4 Clinicians
An industry rule of thumb is that a single full-time receptionist focusing on scheduling can book appointments for 3 - 4 full-time clinicians.
- $40,000 per receptionist annually
- 75 - 100 billed appointments a week per full-time clinician
- 50 working weeks a year
100 appts/week/clinician x 50 weeks / year x 4 clinicians
20,000 appointments / year
$2.00 per appointment
75 appts/week/clinician x 50 weeks / year x 3 clinicians
11,250 appointments / year
$3.56 per appointment
Method B: 12 - 24 Calls per Hour
Generally speaking, an experienced receptionist can handle 12 to 24 scheduling related calls every hour.
Furthermore, on average, approximately ...
- 1 in 20 appointments are missed
- 1 in 5 appointments are cancelled
- 1 in 5 appointments are rescheduled
For a clinic with 20,000 billed appointments a year, this works out to:
- 20,000 billed appointments
- x 5% no show
- x 20% cancellation
- x 20% rescheduling
- = 30,000 calls
- = 3 calls per 2 appointments
30,000 / 24 per hr = 1,250 hrs
1,250 hrs / year = 0.72 FTE
$40K x 0.72 FTE / 20000 appts
$1.44 per appointment
30,000 / 12 per hr = 2,500 hrs
2,500 hrs / year = 1.43 FTE
$40K x 1.43 FTE / 20000 appts
$2.86 per appointment
Staff Costs: 1.2x - 1.4x Salary
A rule of thumb is 1.2x - 1.4x salary, meaning a receptionist earning $30,000 annually costs their employer $36,000 to $42,000 annually (source).
More specifically, this amount includes:
- Employment Insurance Premiums
Excluded Costs: What's Missing
Additional costs make these estimates a conservative lower bound:
- Calls arrive irregularly - other work cannot effectively be performed while waiting for additional calls arriving frequently but intermittently.
- Reminder calls are effective at reducing no-shows, but increase the number of calls that must be made.
- Direct staff costs exclude related costs such as office space, office furniture and supplies, and technology and software licenses.
Conversion Rates: The Impact
The high cost of scheduling individual appointments by phone means conversion rate (i.e. the percentage of total appointments scheduled online) plays a significant role in the success of an online scheduling deployment, and why Veribook focuses on helping clinics achieve conversion rates in the 60 - 70% range.
Focusing on a single clinician:
- 300 - 400 appointments / month
- Every 10% conversion = 30 - 40 appointments / month
- Assume a cost of $2.50 / appt to schedule by phone
Value of a Service Delivering 30% Conversion
30% = 90 - 120 appts / month
$2.50 in value / appt diverted
$225 - $300 per month in tangible value per clinician
Value of a Service Delivering 60% Conversion
60% = 180 - 240 appts / month
$2.50 in value / appt diverted
$450 - $600 per month in tangible value per clinician