In your dental practice, some days probably run like a well-oiled machine, while other days seem to start off late, and get more behind by the hour. The entire day you may feel rushed trying to gain back valuable lost time. So, what’s the problem? Why are some days like that? We’re sharing three of Jennifer’s tips that can help you identify and solve your dental practice’s bottlenecks so you can see patients on time, every time.
Want even more ideas to boost efficiency and time management practices in your office? Contact Jennifer Pearce, Founder, Owner and Executive Lead Prosperity Coach, at (817) 975-4576 to arrange a coaching consultation. Jennifer has been involved with dental practices for over 23 years and understands your management pain points.
Reduce no-shows or late patients.
Patients that fail to show up to appointments can throw off an entire day’s schedule and waste resources. Many offices experiment for the best way to improve patient attendance. Here are a few ideas:
- Require patients come to the office for a brief 15-minute appointment, before their initial appointment, to complete new patient paperwork and learn the location and parking locations for the practice.
- Be prepared for early patient arrivals, particularly in the beginning of the day. Consider altering your opening time or first appointment times to ensure patients arrive after technicians, the physician, and the front office staff have time to prepare for the day and open the practice for business.
- Reach out to patients 48 hours in advance, and require they give confirmation of their attendance via a phone call or online check-in system.
- Rather than scrambling to fit emergency appointments in when they inevitably occur, schedule time slots for them during the day and stay one step ahead of last-minute schedule changes.
Track your day – to the minute.
Have you audited your practice’s daily activities? If not, tracking where the typical day’s time is spent (whether once a month, once a week, or even daily) can shine a light on efficiencies and problem areas.
Frist, track patient information: how many patients are seen, how many don’t show up to appointments, how many call in with cancellations, and what’s the average amount of time they spend in your office? Be sure to track dentist information, too: how long he/she is with each patient, and how long each procedure takes (and note every “in-between” activity — often, the minutes between each patient add up! Track with exacting detail to give yourself the best advantage for improving workflow.
Once you fully understand where time goes in your practice, you can plan for the future. The number of patients coming through the door each day should accurately match the dentist’s ability to see them based on his tracked information. You may have to change your appointment lengths and switch “standard” operating protocol, but if that helps your practice run more smoothly, it means less waiting time and overall happier, loyal patients.
Plan and review the day’s events.
Finally, it’s important that each dentist reviews the day’s appointment schedules with technicians before appointments start, to answer questions and prep them for each patient. When the dentist has to be pulled away from examinations to answer questions about incoming patients, the day’s schedule can start to slow.
In addition, the dentist should briefly review the day’s events after the final patient leaves, to point out any bottlenecks and work with staff to help resolve issues before they continue for days or weeks at a time. Communication across the team early and often will help everyone understand their role and responsibility in helping the office run smoothly through preparation and careful time management.
Contact Prosperity Dental Solutions
Jennifer Pearce offers a holistic approach to improving your practice’s operation: from coaching practice administrators to dentists, Jennifer can provide integrated team processes that ultimately create a more positive work environment and improve your practice’s revenue. Call her for more information on streamlining your practice’s work flow today at (817)975-4576.