By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America
Once the dentistry is accepted and there is a signed financial agreement, the scheduling can occur. One of the biggest
challenges we see practices dealing with on a daily basis is how to effectively schedule to maximize the time and efficiency of procedures while decreasing operator fatigue and enhancing patient comfort.
A common habit is to just fill the blanks with as many patients as you can; squeeze in the last minute emergency patients and guess at how much time is needed for procedures, while hoping the dentist will be able to check 1-3 hygiene patients an hour. This lack of planning and engineering of the schedule causes high stress, low productivity, decreased dollar per hour and serious time management issues for patients
“Great” scheduling is best defined as organizing each and every day for a variety of procedures, setting aside emergency time and making sure procedures have been analyzed for time accuracy. The benefits are a road map for each day, each week and each month. To see fewer patients, yet do more dentistry per patient. You will increase production, decrease stress, respect the patient’s time, and provide last-minute emergency care smoothly.
Setting a production goal is the first and, perhaps, the most vital of the steps for proper scheduling. Unless the entire team knows what the necessary production goal is, they will not know what they need to work toward. You must know how many dollars it takes to run your practice each month. Divide this figure by the desired number of practicing days, and you should have your necessary daily goal.
For example, a practice has a financial need of $50,000 per month and wants to practice four days per week for an average of 16 days per month. $50,000 divided by 16 = $3125. This practice’s daily goal is $3,125.
The objective is to engineer 16 days a month at a production amount of $3,125, using a combination of crowns, bridges, fillings and adjustments. Inserting appointments with a variety of procedures into each day miraculously supports the financial goals with focused effort, not just randomly scheduling patients anywhere, anytime.