Does your dental practice have trouble effectively scheduling patients in a way that maximizes your profits and efficiency? Scheduling is one of the parts of running a dental practice that is often thought about very little in terms of strategy and careful planning. However, running an efficient schedule is one of the best things you can do for your dental practice.
Tawana Coleman, a leading industry expert, has created four essential keys to scheduling for production. If you follow these keys, you will not only see an increase in the efficiency of taking care of patients, you’ll also begin to see an increase in profits that you used to only dream about. Let’s take a look at Coleman’s four tips.
Schedule for Production
First, you need to schedule your office under one main assumption: that you want to maximize production. As a dentist, you know how much profit you want to produce in a year. Take that knowledge and transfer it into daily and monthly goals. How much production do you want to get through in a single day? What is your ideal day? The answers to these questions lead you to creating a schedule that meets those goals.
As you start to identify your production goals, be sure you have the resources available to fill the production. You don’t want your appointment engineers to schedule patients for complicated procedures when your doctors aren’t in the office. This takes careful planning, but with some practice, it can be done.
Schedule by Operatory
Your appointment engineers are your directors. They create and run the schedule to ensure you are using your time in the best way possible. Many times, dental practices use 15-minute increments for their scheduling. You may want to consider switching over to 10-minute increments, which gives you an additional hour in the day for more patients.
As you schedule appointments, be particularly aware of confined procedure times, prep time that is too long and chairside treatment changes. These factors can greatly affect the way you schedule appointments. As a dentist, you know how long it takes to prep for certain procedures or that procedures can change based on new information. As such, be extra comprehensive when diagnosing a patient to avoid changes in schedule.
Schedule for Today and Tomorrow
Don’t worry if your schedule is booked out a month from now! What you should focus on is your daily goal. Are you meeting your daily production goals? While some more complicated procedures will need to be scheduled out in the future, you should only be concerned about the now. This means that you should also think about how to get a higher hygiene retention and patient recall. Also, focus on gaining new clients. As you do these things, you won’t have to worry about a full schedule, because it will fill up on its own.
Get the Patients in Where You Need Them
Never ask your patients when they would like to come in for their next visit or when they would like to schedule their procedures. This may seem like the customer service best practice, but it actually gives your patient too much flexibility and allows for gaps in your schedule. Instead of giving them full control, ask questions that make it seem like they have control. A good question to ask is, “When is the best time of the week to come in?” Some patients may struggle to give you a good answer or constrain you to an ineffective time frame, but you can easily answer back by saying that the doctor only does this certain procedure during the time frame you need to fill. Again, your patients may push back against this, but this is your chance to be empathetic and really stress the urgency of taking care of problems before they get worse.
Use Tawana Coleman’s tips for a more productive schedule to skyrocket your profits and help you achieve your goals as a dental practice. Don’t wait to implement these best practices into your scheduling! With careful and effective scheduling, your practice will become more accomplished at an accelerated rate.