Probably the easiest way for a Dental Office to improve their Production and Collections is to Template the Appointment book.
Templating is simply mapping out and stenciling the day, or week, so that certain procedures are allocated to certain times each day, or week.
The purpose of a well constructed template is to give the appointment book structure and reason.
A well structured appointment book has the following benefits:
Primarily, knowing what type of appointment needs to go where helps dramatically with the flow of patients and instruments throughout the day. Conversely, an unstructured appointment book, at best creates dental entropy, and at worst, is just sheer havoc, or bedlam, for the doctor and team.
▪ Financial surety.
Appointment books need to be structured to ensure that sufficient income is earned by the dental office for the day, or week. I’m hoping this is not a revolutionary concept for your office. On the flip side, an unstructured appointment book can lead to days, weeks and months of busy-ness, without paying the bills. We all know those days….chasing our tails, short appointments backed up on top of each other…..and when you get to the end of the day, you’ve not even covered your wages and salaries…Stack several of these days back to back…and guess what? You’re a mess…An emotional mess and a financial mess!!
A balanced appointment book has a comfortable mix of pleasant procedures, and is not weighted unfavourably in any direction. For example, the hygiene day should be balanced with appropriately placed regular recare hygiene maintenance appointments, perio only appointments as well as new patient first visit appointments. Additionally, the Doctor’s day should not be overweighted with short consultation appointments, or with crown and bridge seating appointments. The Doctor’s day should have an equal number of seat appointments to crown preparation appointments.
Not only does each service provider need to have a balanced day, there needs to be consideration that unintentional log jams are not created by careless or thoughtless scheduling. For example, root canal therapy or other procedures involving rubber dam, should not be scheduled at times where the dentist is required to leave the patient for hygiene checks in other rooms. Nor should hygiene checks be called while the dentist is doing new patient long consults, or implant procedures…all common sense really.
So what’s the best way to create a template for your office?
This is simply a case of working backwards rather than forwards.
▪ In previous blogs I have spoken about setting annual financial goals, to cover the expenses of the practice, practice maintenance and improvement, salaries of doctors and team, as well as return on investment.
▪ Once this big number is decided upon, then the working year needs to be calculated in advance in terms of projected days worked for the next twelve months. Allow for education days, public holidays and vacations. Also allow for a certain number of last minute days away for seminars, school functions etc.
▪ It is often best to calculate a minimum number of days to be worked.
▪ Divide the big number by the forecast number of days worked to arrive ant a daily production goal.
▪ Look at your hours to be worked in the day, and establish how many high production appointments [e.g. crown and bridge, or implants] you need to schedule to create a reasonable part of that daily production goal.
▪ Allocate those productive appointments firstly to your template. You might like to begin the day with one, as well as popping one in prior to lunch as well as after lunch and prior to leaving.
▪ Make sure that you leave times, and set those times for same day emergencies [never to be filled until the day-of]. And New Patient consults and exams etc..
I hope this inspires you to structure your day. The benefits of structure, and the flow on disciplines, allow you to enjoy the rewards, both in time and monetary, that owning a dental office has to offer.
These tips, and more, are included in my workshop “Seven Secrets to a Highly Profitable Appointment Schedule”
“Seven Secrets to a Highly Profitable Appointment Schedule” is just one of the many straight forward protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
Email me: david@theUPE.com
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