Have you ever thought that your day could have been easier and run more smoothly? A good day doesn’t just happen, it isn’t because all of your happy and relaxed patients come in one day and all of your anxious and grumpy patients come in another. Planning your schedule takes a calculated effort, offices who allow their schedules to “happen” are usually the ones who feel frustrated.
Tips for successful schedule planning for a busy provider:
- Pre-block one or two emergency appointments a day for patients who call in with a problem. These appointments should be mid-day or later so that you are able to offer a same day appointment to a patient who is uncomfortable. If these appointments don’t get filled two to three hours prior, then they can be released to move a patient up from another day.
- If you consistently run behind, then it might be a good idea to see how long each of your procedures actually take from freezing your patient to patient dismissal to see if your timing for appointments should be changed.
- Many dentists prefer doing some procedures at specific times of the day or not repeatedly through the day. If you are a GP who prefers to not have endos one after another then pre block your endo appointments at the time of day that you prefer instead of wherever your admin team can fit them in. If these appointments don’t get filled 24 hours prior to them occurring, then they could be filled with another procedure.
- Having larger blocks available for surgery, major restorative preps or any other treatment is always best to pre-block as well to ensure that these are available for patient convenience. To calculate how many of each of these appointments you should pre-block each month you can run a report in your software by procedure code for the last six months. If you were to see that you placed 60 crowns over the last six months, then you would need 10 crown prep appointments each month. By pre-blocking these spots your team will also know the expectation of how many treatments they should be having acceptance for as well.
- For both you and your clinical team you may want to limit the number of short appointments one after another as well. If your assistant is trying to change rooms over every 20 to 30 minutes, then it is a recipe for falling behind unless you are working out of two rooms consistently and have two sets of hands assisting and changing rooms.
For dentists with a less busy schedule, you will still want to plan your days to have your team get into the habit before you get busy. Follow the steps above and then add in some of these ideas:
- If it is a newer practice or you have a new provider in an existing practice then add in an extra unit so that the provider can spend some time connecting with the patients, getting to know them and build up loyalty and trust.
- Ensure that your social media marketing and SEO position are getting results bringing new patients to the office. You can do this by tracking your referral source in your software and then running a referral report. If the methods you use are working, then look for other strategies or consult an expert.
- Make sure that each and every patient feels that they are having a VIP Experience in the office so that they are referring friends and family.
Your satisfaction in your practice comes not only from the financial gain, it also comes from having days that feel well planned and well thought out. Allowing patients to not rule the schedule and having your team plan your schedule in a way which is pleasing to you will make all the difference.