top of page

Optimizing Chiropractic Front Desk Procedures for Patient Retention

goaldriven chiropractor front desk

What kind of check-in and check-out procedures do you have?

How you do these procedures can make an enormous difference in your patient retention, referrals and office visits.

Your health care front desk needs to schedule patients and collect their payments, but when should they do this – when the patient checks in -- or leaves?

If your chiropractic practice is insurance-centric, the front desk can become an extension of the insurance department. When this is the case, collections and scheduling are often done first.

I have seen this occur in many offices.

I recently visited a practice office where patient retention had been declining. I noticed that the patients came in, stopped off at the front desk, made payments, and were confirmed for the next appointment. Then, they waited to see the doctor. After their adjustment and treatment, they often zoomed out of the office, headed to their next destination with an occasional "bye" from the front desk.

I thought there were several weaknesses to this approach, but I wanted to see what other successful practices were doing. We asked other practice managers how they handled their check-ins and check-outs.

Chiropractic Manager Surveys

One manager from an established 2-doctor chiropractic office said:

"We have a check-in/check-out system but scheduling and payments are done together at check-out. This works better for our office flow. The patient walks in, heads right on back and grabs a table for their appt, unless they have an exam or something similar that we need to take them into a different room. Then when they check out, they schedule their next appt, or several future appts at once, and we collect payment if they owe anything."

Another manager of an office with multiple doctors said they preferred to collect patients' payments and update their scheduling when the patient checked out.

  1. You give them the feel that their care is more important than the money.

  2. The last thing they hear when they leave the office is " we'll see you on such and such a day at such and such a time"! "And by the way bring your kids in."

  3. What happens if their services are more or less than what you collected for??? Now you have to alter their charges.

  4. If you have pre-scheduled them and they need additional or less services you are now going to have to change the scheduling.

#3-4 causes confusion and messy records."

I think this only makes sense. Let's zoom in:

The check-in. The front desk needs to be welcoming to your patients who endured challenges just to make it into your office that day. This is a win for everyone, and the initial greeting acknowledges the patient's effort to make it in. Then, any and every barrier should be removed to get the patient back to see their doctor and provider on time.

The check-out. Here are a few vital transactions that can take place:

  • Validating the benefit of their recent adjustment and treatment. "So glad you made it in today for your care. Every visit helps and builds on the last one."

  • Confirm their schedule, or schedule them for the next month, or longer.

  • Go over any payments that might be needed.

  • Quality control. Should the patient mention any doubts or concerns, the front desk can either direct the patient to the doctor for a fast consultation, or to Patient Accounts, if there is a finance concern, or note it to be addressed on their next visit.

  • Marketing. Encourage the patient to schedule an appointment for a family member or friend to come in for a no-charge consult or an upcoming event, such as a new patient lecture or special promotion.

Every office is different and you should always customize procedures to best suit your situation.

But, the following applies in all cases:

  • Your patients are your guests. You invited them.

  • Treat them as you would a friend visiting your home -- with a warm welcome and then, when they leave, a thank you for coming and a sincere wish to see them again soon.

Keeping the goals in mind,



If your practice building efforts aren’t taking you to your goals,

there are reasons -- many of which are hidden from you.

Find out what they are and how to sail to your next level by getting and implementing my new book, The Goal Driven Business.

goal driven business building methodology

The Goal Driven Business

goal driven business buy now button


bottom of page