As a dentist working in your field, you must have heard this already – dental scheduling can really help uplift your practice. It has become even more significant amid the pandemic. You definitely wouldn’t want your waiting room to become a center point for spreading the virus. And to avoid that – you need efficient scheduling for a dental practice.
In a report shared by the American Dental Association, the average number of patients visiting dental clinics has dropped off by 20% than usual. If you want to see your practice growing in these difficult times, patients’ health and protection shall be your foremost priority.
With all the precautions implied against the spread of covid-19, such as the limited number of people allowed in a waiting room and continuous disinfection requirements, etc. – efficient scheduling for a dental practice has become an almost necessity.
Wondering what can make your scheduling efficient?
Well, similar to any other operation at your clinic, patient scheduling also needs a proper structure and continuous maintenance. From routine hygiene visits to restorative procedures – you’ll need a balanced combination of them every day to develop an efficient schedule.
If we look at efficient scheduling with an organizational perspective – the more it produces, the better it is. However, from a patients’ perspective – the better quality of care they’ll be getting, the more effective your scheduling would be considered. The ideal way to develop efficient scheduling for a dental practice is to cater to these perspectives and find a balance between them.
Top Five Tips To Setup An Efficient Schedule For Your Dental Practice
Take a look at these amazing tips and get inspired!
1) Establish Goals For Your Dental Schedule
Before you jump into opening appointments at your dental clinic, it’s always ideal to know your exact goals. Strategic planning is required to attain anything of your desire effectively. And so is what you need to attain an effective dental schedule for your patients. You need to know how much you aim to produce every day and how much capacity you have to produce what you aim for.
Once you know these two important aspects, it will become easier to set your scheduling goals. Ideally, an effective dental schedule shall be able to maximize your production and minimize the stress of your staff at the same time. The best way to attain that is to determine your daily production average and multiply it to set your monthly and annual goals.
With a detailed production goal at hand, you can easily schedule each day in a manner that allows you to attain the final requirements in the end. It can also help your staff create a perfect combination of all procedures such as routine checkups, free consultations, high-ticket procedures, surgical treatments, etc.
Setting production and scheduling goals can also help you determine the overall growth of your practice. Like any other business, the primary purpose of your dental practice must be earning revenue. And with objectives set – you can easily track down the performance, know the gaps, and work to bring constructive changes in your strategy.
2) Manage Schedules In Collaboration With Your Team
Attaining an efficient dental schedule is easier with the organizational perspective. You can easily determine if your schedule is effective by determining the growth of your production. However, an ideally effective dental schedule is the one that works fine for the organization, staff, and patients at the same time.
So, the best way to create such a schedule is to do that in collaboration with your entire team. From your dental practitioners and their assistants to your admin staff and everyone that might be involved in accomplishing a dental appointment successfully – each of them shall have a say in the overall schedule of your dental clinic.
The best way to do that is to conduct a meeting every morning where your entire staff could go through the schedule and discuss any changes or updates required. The more convenient your schedule would be for the staff, the better they will perform. And a healthy working staff with higher productivity is definitely the key to your dental practice’s growth.
Another important aspect to consider here is the capabilities of your dental scheduling manager. You must assign this task to a brave individual who’s ready to take on challenges. Scheduling isn’t a straightforward job. Your work is not done as soon as the schedule is fixed for a day as a scheduler. Instead, you have to actively keep an eye on the appointments, send out reminders to the patients, and the biggest of all – try filling in for the empty spots that have been canceled last minute.
The more talented and experienced dental scheduler you’d have on board, the bigger your practice’s growth will be.
3) Thoroughly Analyze To Know The Exact Time Frames
An important thing for effective dental scheduling is the exact time frame required for each procedure. From the dental practitioner and their assistance to the auxiliary staff, each has a role in each dental appointment. To prepare an efficient dental schedule – you must conduct a thorough analysis and determine the time frames they would require to finish a particular appointment.
For instance, you’ve scheduled a patient for a root canal – you must know how much time it would take in his preparation, the exact minutes it would take to perform the procedure, and for many minutes or hours you’ll have to keep the patient under observation or care, etc. Once you know the entire time frame, setting the schedule would become a lot easier.
The best way to determine these time frames is to conduct a two-week analysis of all the dental procedures and consultations you offer at the clinic. In the end, you can calculate the average time for each, and boom – you’ll have your standard time frames.
4) Tackle Last Minute Cancellations & Avoid Empty Slots
The worst that can happen to your dental scheduling is ending up with empty slots. It will affect both your production goals and the growth of your practice. You’d definitely never want that to happen.
There’s a way you can prevent that – by being proactive and going beyond standards. One of the reasons most patients tend to cancel dental appointments these days is the increasing spread of covid-19. The best way to tackle this is by sending email reminders, informing them about the precautionary measures being practiced at your clinic, and ensuring them about the quality of your service. The more empathetic you’d be towards the patients, the better relationship of trust you’ll be able to form.
Another great way to tackle the situation is to introduce a cancellation policy. You can send gentle reminders to the scheduled patients and caution that their slots can only be canceled in a particular time period. For instance, within 6 or 12 hours of the booking. And if a patient cancels after the allotted time – they can be subjected to a penalty.
In addition to that, you can keep a waiting list of patients at hand. That can be used in the event of last-minute cancellations and save you from dealing with empty slots and loss in production.
5) Build An Online Dental Scheduling System
A great way to attain an effective dental schedule to build an online system. Technology has made things a lot easier. You can simply build an online dental scheduling system and boom. All your patients can see available slots themselves and book appointments according to their convenience.
In addition to that, you can add some interesting features such as notifications and reminders to your system. They can automatically send reminders to the patients a few hours before their appointment. Also, they can notify patients on the waiting list anytime there’s a cancellation, and a slot becomes available.
Such systems could be helpful for both the patients and the clinics. The patients can make dentist appointment online without having to call or visit. And the staff do not have to spend hours attending scheduling calls and stuff.
Setup An Efficient Dental Schedule With DentalRevu
Efficient dental scheduling can truly be a source of growing your practice. The above-listed methods are great to help you set up the best schedules for your dental clinic. However, if you feel like needing professional assistance, that’s perfectly fine.
DentalRevu is a top-tier company that offers exquisite dental scheduling services for each client. We have the best online scheduling software at hand and an experienced team of professionals on board. The combination can work incredibly to grow your practice and maximize your revenue like never before.