One of the most often stated challenges dentists tell me they are facing is increasing productivity when they have no availability on the schedule. When I hear this, I initially think of a few things immediately. They probably need to slow down, need to focus on patient education and treatment presentation, and they probably need to see fewer patients. Now, you are most likely thinking, “Why would she want me to see fewer patients? I want to increase my production!” Well, let me explain.
Make a good return on your investment
In order to increase production, you have to look at the procedures you are doing that keep your schedule full, and evaluate if you are doing the right procedures. For example, if I look at a doctor’s schedule and it is booked from the beginning of the day to the end of the day, but production is very low, it is very probable that what I will find is a day full of low-production procedures. This is working extremely hard but with little to no return on that investment of your time! You have to plan and set goals for daily production in order to increase your overall productivity. After you know what your goals are, then you can focus on how to achieve them. Here are a few things to look at and consider once you determine your goals.
Create schedule blocks for high-production procedures
Create schedule templates (or blocks). Schedule templates help the entire team know what types of procedures need to be scheduled on a daily basis to achieve the goals of the practice. There have to be more higher-producing procedures scheduled with the low-production procedures in order to increase productivity. The schedule templates give the team a “roadmap” to reaching those goals. The most crucial part of this is that every team member must understand the goal, and be intentional when scheduling patients. If the schedule template shows a $900 time block, schedule a procedure that is close, equal or greater to that cost in this time block. Schedules are fluid, but with intent in appointment block scheduling, goals are much more easily met on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.
Allow time for patient education and case presentation
The team must be focused on educating and creating value for the treatment plans they are presenting to their patients. In order for the team to properly do this, they must have the scheduled time to do it. This is not a “fast” process. Again, you have to slow down to increase production. When the appropriate time and energy are put into treatment planning and treatment presentation, case acceptance increases, which means filling the schedule with more productive procedures is made easy.
Continue learning to offer high-production services to your patients
The dentist needs to also consider expanding the services and procedures being offered to the patients. Consider following courses of continuing education that would allow for a wider variety of higher-production procedures that could easily increase overall production. Dental implants, ClearCorrect, Invisalign, and Oral Sleep Appliances are just a few procedures that can make a huge impact on the practice. Once the doctor is trained in these procedures, the team is then trained in turn to understand all aspects of the procedure so they can effectively and efficiently educate the patients. Many of these procedures are team-driven, and leave the doctor free to continue producing in other operatories. This creates an environment of promoted learning for all staff and autonomy to make good, sound decisions by the entire team.
Where to start
To start, define your goals, communicate them to your team, and provide them with the tools to help achieve those goals. It requires commitment by every team member, and the doctor to work together daily, sometimes even hourly, to reach the goals for the practice. We have all heard of the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder.” If the entire team, and doctor are focused, intentional in their communication with patients, and intentional in the way patients are scheduled daily, there is no reason that phrase can not be a reality for any practice.
For personalized assistance on this process, contact Sherri Merritt or call (877) 768-4799. At Bryant Consultants, dental practice consulting is a big part of what we do. Together, we can help you realize your vision, and establish goals and processes in place to evolve your practice to the next level and beyond.