We have a busy pediatric dental practice, the problem is everytime a patient cancels or fails an appointment we have our doctor breathing fire down our back. We have gotten to the point when someone does cancel we are asking why it is they are cancelling, is there anyone else who can bring them, inform them that there may be a $25 reschedule fee, inform them that we make note of cancelled appts (even if 24 hr in advance) we are asking for 48 hr notice. We all fear the repercussion of the doctor, short of offering to go pick them up we try to save the appointment. We are ticking people off in many cases, we dismiss patients left and right for the limit of last minute cancels or failed appts. I agree with the medicaid patients, not sure how one can get through to them the importance of their dental appts. In pediatric we don’t have the call list that a general practice would have due to 30 minute units for children and seeing so many patient’s per day, (average 50 patients per day) and parents do not want to pull the kids from school for a cancel in the schedule. Needless to say we are stressed out. Do you have any suggestions?
Well….I loved the subject of your email “Appointment Nazi”. For me, the purpose of life is to enjoy each day and if I had an employer that was asking me do something that I knew was costing him/her business…..I would have to request a meeting to express my feelings. From that meeting, I would be able to determine if I was able to continue to work there considering the stressful circumstances and it’s affect on me.
Now….having said that, I can pretty well guess that the doctor’s temperament type based on the Myers-Briggs is an ESTJ. This means that to him/her the rules are the rules. Patients had an appointment, they broke it and now they need to be reprimanded. Black and white, bottom line….end of story. On the other hand, my educated guess is that you are somewhat opposite, being an ESFJ. Note that there is only one letter difference between you and the doctor and that is “F”. That “F” stands for “feeling” which means that you don’t like to tell people unpleasant things and that you care more about the people and their feelings than you do rules, protocol, etc. This is just to help you understand where the doctor is coming from. Unfortunately, I fear that the doctor does not know how his/her protocol is ultimately affecting the practice.
I would also “guess” that the doctor may be having financial difficulty, i.e., paying bills, paying debt, paying payroll. This “stress” is beyond belief as a business owner, so the doctor is taking out his/her frustration on you.
I understand the whole pediatric, medicaid, 30 min. etc. etc. When a patient doesn’t show, consider providing more treatment on the one that you have in the chair. Perhaps you can
overlap these patients by 10 minutes to ensure the next one is there before dismissing the one you have. Obviously I am missing much information in regards to how many dentists, whether or not you have hygienists, how many ops, etc. etc. Some medicaid offices inform the patients on the first visit that if they miss one appointment they will be dismissed. They set the rules down right from the beginning rather than trying to do it at the last minute when they don’t show and you are losing production. I also don’t know if it’s a total medicaid office or a mix of fee for service and medicaid. If it’s a mix, you may want to limit the amount of medicaid you see per day in order to reach your production goals.
Hope this helps.