Last updated on September 23rd, 2020 at 10:26 am
In my seminar, The Art of Scheduling Productively, I cover nineteen scheduling “policies” or rules that have been proven to increase productivity and efficiency.
In this webletter, I wanted to expand on three of these rules which are easy to implement and can produce a fairly quick change in your productivity.
Let’s start with #1:
1. There needs to be someone in your office who is ultimately responsible for the daily schedule.
This means one single person whose job is to oversee the schedule and ensure that itis and stays productive, while not becoming overly hectic.
Of course you may have multiple people dealing with patients and their schedule, but they should be coordinated with the staff member assigned to oversee the schedule.
When you have multiple people scheduling patients independently with no one responsible overall, you end up with a big mess. Especially if patients are being scheduled by an assistant or provider in each operatory. Run properly this can be very efficient – but done incorrectly this can be a nightmare. With no one responsible to coordinate all of this activity, lots of holes in the schedule and low production creates finger pointing or an attitude of “oh well, everybody tried.” Ideally, there should be someone who is taking responsibility for the whole schedule, troubleshooting it when needed and working out how to ensure production is always acceptable and patients are properly and efficiently taken care of.
The person running the schedule would set targets for the day and week in accordance with the monthly income target set by the doctor; see to it that patients are scheduled appropriately; handle any issues that come up so it doesn’t become the doctor’s problem; and when another staff member touches the appointment book, they would ensure it was done in compliance with office scheduling policy.
(Related: Running Behind Schedule in Your Dental Office? Here’s How to Fix it!)
2. The doctor should never do more work than was originally scheduled –unless there is an opening afterward so that the next patient will not have to wait.
This can seem counter-intuitive at first, because you want to fit in as much production as possible, but making patients wait will hurt you more in the end.
People don’t like to wait. It’s human nature. So when your patients are made to wait they will begin to consider that appointments aren’t set-in-stone and they will begin to show up late themselves and cancel and no-show. The little bit of extra production you fit in today means you will be eating it in missed production later, not to mention lost goodwill with your patient base.
If the patient needs further treatment than was scheduled and there is another patient right behind them, simply schedule them to come back in another time. This might not apply to emergencies, but I leave that decision up to you to do what’s best for the patient.When patients are made to wait, they'll think appointments aren't set in stone and will begin to shop up late & cancel.Click To Tweet
3. There should be no personal calls, texts, emails, or internet browsing by the staff during production time.
If the schedule is running productively, there simply is no time for chatting or web browsing. “Smart phones” in particular are a major distraction. Even when a quick call or text “will only take a second,” it actually eats up much more time in terms of being distracted from the task at hand, forgetting things or doing them incompletely – and worst of all, not focusing on patients and taking care of people.
During a truly productive day, the office is seeing patients one right after the other,bang-bang-bang – scheduling one patient, entering it into the computer, seeing the next patient, calling to confirm a future appointment, and so on. There is no time for distraction in there. If a staff member receives a call about some type of personal emergency, it should of course be dealt with promptly, but beyond these types of things, try to minimize cell phone interaction.
Those are a few simple actions you can implement to start seeing a rise in productivity. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more you can learn so that you can run your schedule as efficiently and productively as possible
Chances are, your office can become significantly more productive than it is now, in the same amount of hours.
(Related: 5 Ways to Reduce Hygiene Cancellations and No-Shows)
If you’d like to know more, I’d suggest implementing the nineteen policies that I lay out in my seminar, The Art of Scheduling Productively. I travel all over the country delivering this seminar to thousands of dental professionals, but as of this week it is also available for the first time on DVD. You can watch it in the comfort of your own home or office and train your entire staff on it, as well.
So click the button below and order your copy. It’s only $199 for a potential increase of many thousands of dollars in production – not to mention the amount of headaches that can be reduced when you have a smoothly running schedule day in and day out.
After being released last week, the copies are selling out much faster than expected, and will only be available for a short time.
To order your DVD today, click the button below:
Dr. Gregory Winteregg provides this general dental practice management advice to furnish you with suggestions of actions that have been shown to have potential to help you improve your practice. Neither MGE nor Dr. Gregory Winteregg may be held liable for adverse actions resulting from your implementation of these suggestions, which are provided only as examples of topics covered by the MGE program.
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