3 Ways to See Patients On Time, Every Time

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

3 Ways to See Patients On Time, Every TimeIn 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.

Are You Comprehensively Auditing Your Dental Practice?

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

When you think of an audit, do you automatically picture thousands of dollars coming into and going out of your office? Although auditing generally refers to evaluating a company’s financials, the word “audit” can also refer to the way your staff performs certain activities. If you are not currently auditing all facets of your dental practice, call Jennifer Pearce at (817) 975-4576. A single coaching consultation could help you learn if you should put more emphasis on auditing one or more of the following operations.

Overdue Patient Accounts

Every dentist knows that collections are part and parcel of being in the healthcare field. However, collecting on unpaid debts can be challenging. Talk with your office team about your own policies. Are they all following the same formula to recover the money you are owed? Do some of them “draw outside the lines” and create their own strategies? The more you know, the more you can help hone a debt collection system that is strategic and repeatable. Until you perform an audit, though, you may not realize you are missing opportunities to collect early in the process.

Onboarding New Staff

Are you a small dental practice that runs at lightning fast speed? When you recruit new staff members, do you just assume they are being trained properly? Or do you put a Placeholder into the mix while the new person is learning the ropes? This is a commonplace issue across small businesses in every industry. Performing an audit of the way you onboard will help spot gaps in the system. By filling the gaps, you can be sure that your new employees are ready to contribute to the goals of your business.

Phone Conversations

It may sound simple, but the way your staff greets patients and callers over the phone is critical. Find out if your team uses scripts or simply “wings it” during every phone call. You may want to hire a consultant to help you create special scripts to answer questions and give your practice an air of consistency. Patients appreciate knowing what to expect, and scripts can help all employees reflect your preferred atmosphere.

Consultation Conversions

Does it seem as if your consultation conversion rates are inconsistent? Perform an audit on every stage in the consultation process. Where are potential patients losing interest or falling out of the conversion funnel? How can you streamline your process to encourage up to a 98 percent closing percentage? Process audits illustrate trouble spots and red flags that you might never have realized. Close the loops and you will likely see higher conversions.  

Role Expectations

Sometimes, employees step outside their roles because it seems necessary at the time. Yet constantly changing staff roles can lead to confusion and even irritation. Perform an audit focused on job descriptions. Have some changed over the years? Which ones should be updated? Are employees making up their own job descriptions in lieu of written ones? When team members know which tasks “belong” to which people, your dental practice can run more effectively.

A Second Pair of Auditing Eyes

If the idea of performing an audit on all these operational areas causes you concern, remember that you can always hire Jennifer Pearce as a second set of eyes. Ms. Pearce would be happy to talk with you about your in-house operational needs and help you conduct a performance audit. Contact us at (817) 975-4576 to arrange for a consultation.

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Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

 

Testimonials

Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

"I highly recommend Jennifer as a dental coach and as a person who understands what it takes to drive improvement. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge that makes her an invaluable tool in strengthening a practice. My practice has been successful, however, I knew that I wanted to take it to another level. Jennifer has a keen understanding of the ins and outs of running a practice, and what it takes to elevate all aspects of the practice. Whether it's a desire to improve treatment case acceptance, create more harmony and positive energy at the office, or implement the vision of the practice, Jennifer has the know how to make it happen. She says it as it is, and is down to earth and honest. I have already seen improvements across the board in my practice since we have been working together. I'm excited about the growth opportunity and confident that I have chosen a partner who understands the practice needs, and the intricacies needed to achieve the change I'm seeking. My team loves her and she has been a huge component in the success of my practice."

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