Dental practice schedule management success is balance. A balance between productivity, efficiency, and flow. And it can take some time to develop this balance. Both in the dental hygiene schedule and in the dental restorative schedule. So, if you would like to create a better balance in your schedules, this one’s for you!
Productivity is more than just a number. Although of course, you want to reach daily production goals. Everyone on the team wants to feel productive without exhaustion. Productivity is energy. Chaos is exhausting. When we experience a productive day, we may feel fatigue. But it feels good. When we have a busy, chaotic day, we are exhausted. We are worn out. And it does not feel good.
Efficiency makes the best use of our time. Schedule templates and knowledge allow us to be efficient. And when we are efficient, we can better care for our patients and our team. Yes, part of our job in the dental office is to also care for our team. We can encourage and help and support our team better when we are not in 2 places at once.
The flow of our schedules allows a better day for everyone! When we run on time, everyone smiles! We don’t have a backlog of patients waiting to be seen. We want to avoid patients rushing out of the office in a hurry. And create peace and a nice feeling for everyone in our workspace. Going to the dentist is hard enough for patients. We certainly don’t want to add to their stress. And we don’t want to add to ours!
Too Many Cooks Spoil The Stew
A wise old saying, and it’s true in so many ways. One key person must be responsible for the schedule. But depending on the size of your practice, you may need more. In fact, you might need two people. One team member to oversee the restorative schedule. And perhaps another team member to manage the hygiene schedule.
More than one dentist definitely means more scheduling coordinators. Because each dentist is unique and has their own style. And they also have their own patients. If you put too much responsibility on one person you will fail. You will fail to reach your true potential. The schedule might be workable. But that doesn’t mean it’s all it could be.
Work to keep other hands out of the schedule. Because you really don’t know what the schedule coordinator has in mind. And you could blow a master plan they have in mind. When dental assistants and hygienists begin plugging patients into the schedule, everything goes haywire. Even when the intent is good. And I know it always is!
Let one person lead the pack. And remember, we are talking about the schedule. It will give the schedule coordinator a sense of accomplishment and ownership. But encourage the schedule coordinator to ask for help. There will be times when help is needed. Just don’t assume to know when that is. Let the coordinator communicate that to the team.
Dental Practice Schedule Management Improves with Training
Training is an ongoing life experience. At least, if we want to continue to grow personally and professionally. No matter what we know, or think we know, there is room for more. And sometimes, just one seemingly “little” piece of information changes everything we thought. Isn’t it great? I love it when that happens!
Make Today The Priority
Dental practice schedule management requires us to make today the priority. And by this, I mean that today’s schedule is the priority. The schedule coordinator cannot worry about tomorrow’s schedule unless today’s schedule is perfect. If there is any open time in today’s schedule, fill it. And fill it before tomorrow’s is a concern. Focus is key.
Open appointment times must be filled today. The schedule coordinator can do this with several tools. Use the short notice call list. Call scheduled patients to move them forward. And let the team know there is an open time today. Especially if this time is difficult to fill. This is the call for help. And perhaps a patient in the office will take the appointment. Or if they are a hygiene patient, they may have a family member who needs an appointment.
Then move on to tomorrow. Part of the strategy for success here is just this simple. Take care of today. Then tomorrow. And follow that with the next day. The goal is to always have a great schedule today. Once your template and systems are in place, it is easier. Systems that manage your telephones, call lists, confirmations, etc. are important to your schedule too.