Are You Seeing Red When You Look at Your Open Schedule?

Tips to fill an empty dentist schedule

Are you seeing red when you look at your open schedule?  If you are the owner of the business, the office manager or even depend on the production of your schedule for pay then DON’T PANIC! Here are four simple systems to implement into your daily routine that will pull you out of the red and fill your schedule.

1. Unscheduled Treatment Tracking and Follow- Up – Have a solid plan of tracking patients that leave and do not schedule their dental treatment. Within this system, you must include notes concerning their needs, reasons for not scheduling while in the office and any insight related to their care. Unscheduled treatment tracking and follow-up must be consistent with all patients all the time. This does NOT mean call them when your schedule is empty and the doctor is panicking about the bills! If you are a digital office, you can track follow -up on your schedule, or utilize the tools that are provided within the practice management system. If you are still working off paper, a suggested tracking sheet at check out or utilizing route slips for follow up is suggested.

2. Upcoming Hygiene Schedule – Looking at the hygiene schedule for the upcoming week is always a gold mind for dental treatment that has fell through the cracks over the past six months. Always look ahead and when confirming their upcoming appointment, be concerned about the dental care that has not been completed. Offer to set some time aside on the doctor’s schedule while they are in the office to complete this missed care. This values the patient’s visit in the office as well as values the doctor’s time, saves on disposable materials, scheduling time and staff cost. (Remember to make notes of all calls and results of calls so that everyone is on the same page with patients rather than sticking your foot in your mouth due to poor communication).

3. Morning Huddle Planning – Every huddle, every day, should be about planning the day including the patients that need dental treatment, patients that have graduated into a healthy state and are candidates for elective opportunities and the opportunities that are available today for “Same Day Dentistry” on existing patients in the office and dental emergency care. This is also a time to discuss the needs of the schedule for the upcoming week so that the entire team is engaged in the schedule needs, which really are the practice or business’s needs.

4. Add- On Dentistry – “Add-On Dentistry” is a reference to patients that are on your schedule in both hygiene and operative care. Often times when a patient schedules an appointment they have the mindset of “I want the least expensive, the smallest amount of treatment and I want it to be painless. Oh, and the best please”. With this in mind, having the discussion with the patient, while they are sitting up in your chair at the beginning of the appointment is rather simple. You are already reviewing the treatment with the patient, getting them concerned about their condition and explaining the overall affects that NOT following the doctors prescription for care will have on the health of their mouth. Here are a few examples:

Hygiene – Fluoride, home-care products, saliva testing, bleaching, and oral appliances… right up your alley. We know that patients come in and the condition of their mouth is ever changing. It is always easy to connect the changes in their mouth to the changes in their overall health and come up with an action plan to prevent long-term deterioration.
Operative Care– You are working on tooth # 2 today and tooth #3 needs
work as well. This discussion takes about 5 minutes and a digital photo to
explain the needs with as few words as possible.
5. When thinking about filling your schedule, think “SYSTEMS” not short-term results. If your schedule is bare now, it is likely that it will be bare again. Let us get out of panic mode and go into system mode. Systems are always written down, reviewed with everyone involved and accountability measures made to ensure that they are followed correctly and consistently. It is time to stop seeing red and get going on getting busy.

If you would like more information on any of the four systems for filling your schedule, please contact our professional dental consultants at (877)-768-4799 or click here.