Scheduling is the heartbeat of the dental practice. A well-scheduled day can lead to productivity, profitability, and less stress — all of which support providing outstanding care to your patients. The flip side of this statement is also true – a day that is not well scheduled can reduce your productivity, profitability, and lead to uncontrolled stress. Stress can compromiseyour ability to listen and provide focused care, and can drain your energy.
If your schedule does not support that kind of quality interaction, your relationships with your patients will be at risk. A poorly engineered schedule can get in the way of smooth, stress-controlled, productive, profitable days.
At The Jameson Group, we believe that there are eight essentials of scheduling:
1) Schedule toward a pre-determined goal – yearly, monthly, and daily.
2) Schedule a variety of procedures into every day – primary, secondary, and tertiary.
3) Pre-block for approximately half of your daily goal in primary procedures.
4) Implement appropriate delegation (according to the laws of your state) when and where possible so that the doctor is doing the things that only a doctor can do.
5) Do a time-in-motion study to truly know how long a procedure takes so that you schedule plenty of time, but not too much. Wasted time is lost revenue and energy. Schedule both doctor time and assistant time.
6) Provide hygiene evaluations at a natural break in the doctor’s schedule rather than at the end of a hygiene appointment.
7) Make financial arrangements prior to the scheduling of an appointment. Always.
8) Schedule fewer patients in a day, doing more dentistry when and where appropriate, and see patients for fewer visits. Patients will appreciate you, and your daily productivity will increase, and it’s a profitable and much less stressful way to practice.
Remember, the key to productivity is not how many patients you see in a day, but rather how much dentistry you do in a day. No matter how well you may think you’re scheduling, do yourself a favor and look for places where you can improve upon each of these eight areas. In addition, make sure that your systems of patient education and customer service are so outstanding that more people are saying yes to your treatment, which will make it possible for you to schedule succinctly.