4 Ways To Streamline Your Schedule
The beginning of every month, week, or even day gives us the chance to take control of our schedules. After all, the rhythm of our practice determines the health of our patients and the wellbeing of dentists, too. Detailing our schedules the right way helps our practices grow. The wrong way means cancelations, open appointment times and more scheduling snafus causing us to lose money, sleep, and stability.
“Effective scheduling is one of the most important components of any dental practice,” writes Dr. Anissa Holmes, a dentist, business acceleration coach, social media strategist and bestselling author. “When done well, it can instantly boost productivity, profitability, and the return on investment for your marketing efforts.”
With a little help from my friend Anissa Holmes, here are four ways to streamline your schedule in 2021 and beyond.
1. Appoint someone specific to take on the schedule.
One person should be solely devoted to mapping out the day by appointments and daily goals. This way, everyone will know what each unit of time is worth. This will encourage your dental staff to fill open times in their schedule so that they aren’t missing out on opportunities.
As Anissa explains, a good scheduler will make sure you’re seeing patients with similar needs at the same time of day, scheduling patients for high-value procedures at the most convenient times, and using other “block scheduling” strategies to maximize productivity. This process helped Annisa’s practice meet up to 90% of their daily revenue goals before lunchtime.
2. Stop scheduling unpredictable patients.
Patients with high cancelation rates or low credit history should be the last priority when it comes to rescheduling. This will make your schedule more predictable so you aren’t wasting time and money. Be aware of detecting future objections. If a patient seems unsure of a treatment plan, try to figure out the reason, like finances or fear. Then, go from there and try to ease their worries.
I’m sure you’ve had days where you are not very stressed, and the workday goes by like a breeze. Then, there are days when it seems like there isn’t enough time to get everything done. This leads to inconsistent production and collections. This can be fixed by the scheduler keeping statistics on patients to identify ones who are more likely to show up and move forward with treatment. It is important to have a scheduler to create the day. Automated texts and emails only go so far, you need to be in control of your schedule. Time is your most valuable asset and most limited resource.
3. Present simple treatment plans to help patients move forward with scheduling.
If a patient isn’t on the same page as you, they will likely push off treatment, not because they don’t want the best dental care but because they don’t understand how serious their issues are.
When talking about the care they will receive at the important, ask your scheduler to discuss how the appointment will help avoid something getting worse, which could end up costing the patient more money.
4. Track key statistics.
An effective scheduler keeps track of key statistics for your practice, explains Anissa. “For example, they can keep track of and report the number of cancellations or no-shows,” she writes. “They can track the amount of time utilized per appointment. And they can track the number of calls made to patients and new appointments generated. They can also track the number of new patients scheduled and how those patients learned about your practice. That can help you evaluate your marketing efforts and thank current patients for referrals.”