How to Improve Scheduling in Your Dental Practice

Scheduling is a key a part of any successful dental practice.

If your practice were a vehicle, your schedule would be the oil that lubricates the engine and keeps things running smoothly.

Because an organized schedule is fundamental, making improvements to streamline your processes should be the first thing you consider before investing in any new technology, continuing education, or clinical skills.

The effectiveness of the scheduling system that you have in place is based on a clinical team that is organized and self-aware. Remember, a well-managed clinic is a valuable clinic, particularly if you are looking to sell.

Here are some tips to improve the scheduling system in your dental practice.

Track your workdays

Although it may be easier to simply estimate how much time you spend on daily activities, tracking your time accurately can save time and money in the long run. Most dentists will find that after they track their days, they have completely underestimated or overestimated how long it’s taken to do certain tasks.

Spend a couple of weeks encouraging your employees to keep a journal of how many hours they worked and what tasks they worked on within this time frame.

From the responses you get, you can then begin to project production relative to annual goals that you set.

Make use of bunching

Bunching means organizing your schedule so similar tasks can be done around the same time. This ensures that you don’t have to completely change a room for one procedure, only to change it back for another later on in the day.

Make sure your administrative staff is aware of the most effective way to group appointments for your practice.

Promote and track hygiene appointments

Many dentists simply use hygiene appointments as last minute a way to fill in gaps in their schedule.

A more effective way to use them is to reach out to your clients directly, promoting hygiene appointments and organizing them well ahead of time so you know that you don’t have to generate leads at the last minute.

Prevent empty appointments

Empty appointments are one of the most frustrating parts of a dental schedule, and when they are frequent, they can be terrible for your profits.

Here are three quick ways to limit the number of empty appointments.

  • Ensure a 48 hours notice and broken appointment fee
  • Make it easy for clients to reschedule
  • Send a friendly message to clients when someone cancels. Something like “our schedule has recently changed and we immediately thought you might be interested in pushing your appointment forward.”

How have you improved the schedule of your dental practice?


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