Maintaining a productive and profitable schedule within your dental practice

February 20, 2019

There are many aspects that go into managing a successful dental practice, apart from just being a good dentist. Among the most important facets is establishing and maintaining a productive schedule – one that will best serve your team and your patients. You need to manage your schedule and optimize it on a daily basis to make the most of each appointment and maximize your practice’s profitability. Here are some key points to keep in mind in setting up efficient scheduling practices and rolling with the punches your day-to-day calendar will provide.

Productivity over quantity

The best possible schedule isn’t one that fills with the most appointments; it’s one that achieves your goals, reduces your stress, and maximizes your profitability. There is such a thing as overscheduling, and productivity over quantity needs to be a key point in setting appointments. If you’re scrambling from room to room trying to treat too many patients at once, not only will their level of care suffer, but so will the stress level of your team. Try timing how long each type of appointment takes on average. This will assist in creating more accurate scheduling blocks and lead to less empty-chair time. The most productive schedule will provide the highest quality care to the highest number of patients without burning out your team or yourself.

Inevitable changes

Organization is key in establishing a process for how you set up your schedule, but you also need to be able to adapt to changes on a daily basis. There are rarely days the schedule goes exactly as planned. Patients will inevitably have to cancel, run late, or forget about their appointment. The sooner you accept this and refuse to let it irritate you, the sooner you’ll learn how to roll with those punches and still make the most of your schedule. There are ways to navigate the day’s unexpected occurrences to still maximize profitability and keep patients in the chair – the first of which is to get the whole team involved.

The team’s role in scheduling

The entire team needs to play a role in creating a productive schedule. It shouldn’t completely fall on the doctor or office manager’s shoulders, as this will detract from the stress-reducing goal of schedule management. First off, the team needs to establish what it wants the schedule to accomplish. Ultimately, a schedule should increase efficiency and profitability while reducing stress and minimizing impact on patient care. You need to establish a consistent scheduling process that will continually work for the practice and utilize effective communication. Once set, the schedule should be reviewed regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page. Any team members familiar with the patient tendencies will also help anticipate possible cancellations or no-shows.

Optimize your practice’s schedule with White & Associates

Maintaining an effective schedule within your practice is an ongoing process that must be improved on a regular basis. White & Associates Practice Consulting helps dental businesses operate more profitably and efficiently. Contact us today to learn how to improve your scheduling, recall effectiveness, team communication, and more.