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Ideas For Productive Patient Scheduling in a Dental Office

Feel like you're on a treadmill all the time, running fast but getting nowhere? Have you looked at the book at the end of the day feeling exhausted from seeing a bunch of patients, only to find out the production was next to nothing?

It can be a challenge to balance the need to keep the appointment book full and the desire to have every day be productive. Some simple techniques will help you reach your goals without feeling exhausted at the end of the day.

Set a Daily Goal

Production goals must be determined by the doctor and communicated to everyone on the team. The staff as a group should discuss how they could impact production to reach the goal. Once you have commitment from everyone on the team, the goal will more achievable.

Develop the "Ideal Day"

The doctor should determine what their ideal day would look like. The proper combination of procedures will make the day run smoother and results in higher production. Procedure scan be broken down using the concept of "Rock, Sand, Water"

Rock Appointments- major cases that are highly productive such as crown and bridge, veneers, dentures, etc. Ideally, these appointments should be 50% of your schedule

Sand appointments- Minor cases that are moderately productive such as amalgams and composites.

Water Appointments- These are low production procedures such as seats, suture removal, adjustments, exams, etc. This type of procedure should be used to fill in around the Rock and Sand appointments.

Prepare the Appointment Book

A productive schedule allows you to consistently determine at a glance how your book is filled. Time should be set aside the entire month for Rock appointments with open space around these procedures. This allows you to have appointments for your most productive procedures and critical appointments.

If the pre-blocked time has not been filled within two or three days of the appointment, begin to fill those appointments with other procedures. Also make sure you do not fill up a day with too many "seat" appointments. If your goal is to do two Rock procedures per day, you should only have two seat appointments per day.

Discuss Daily Goals at Your Morning Huddle

Review the results from the previous day and discuss the goal for today. Also discuss the status of the Rock appointments for the next five days. If you are short for your goal or there are open appointments, everyone should be watching for treatment opportunities with patients on the books. Emergencies and incomplete treatment lists are great places to be prepared to discuss all options with the patients.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Patients will act if you create a sense of urgency for having the treatment done. Simply tell the patient " we would like to get you started as soon as we can find an opening in the schedule for you. We don't want to wait on this procedure." That statement show the patient you know it is important to have the work done.

Monitor Results and Share Success

Post the results where the staff can see and compare the results on a regular basis. Visuals are important and a reminder of success or results that come up short. When you do beat your goal, be sure to share and acknowledge the success with the team. If you have a formal bonus or reward system, announce the results at your staff meeting. If you do not have any formal plans, set up something fun for the staff to do together to rewards their efforts.

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