Neil H. Baum, MD, presented “Managing Chronically Late Patients” for the Grand Rounds in Urology audience in October 2022.

How to cite: Baum, Neil H. “Managing Chronically Late Patients.” October 2022. Accessed Mar 2023.

Managing Chronically Late Patients – Summary

Grand Rounds in Urology Contributing Editor Neil H. Baum, MD, Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School, offers advice on managing chronically late patients. As most physicians know, late patients create significant scheduling challenges, decrease staff efficiency, and increase stress levels. Dr. Baum suggests creating a written policy addressing chronic lateness that explains the cascading problems for doctors and staff when patients fail to arrive on time, and requesting patients arrive early to complete necessary paperwork or pay for their visit. He also advises seeing chronically late patients at the end of the day or rescheduling them which will serve to reinforce the message. Of course, it is valuable to understand reasons for occasional lateness like older patients who may be dependent on a family member for transportation. Dr. Baum underscores the importance of being an on-time physician if asking the same of patients. Inevitably schedule delays happen. If you’re running late, send a staff person out to the waiting room to explain and give patients an option to reschedule. Contrary to popular belief, charging patients for lateness is ineffective and the fees are hard to collect. Likewise, overbooking patients in an effort to fit them around late arrivals is more likely to create additional delays for physicians and staff.

For more commentary on practice management from Dr. Baum, visit his Improving Your Urology Practice page.