Everyday Problems; Broken Appointments, Always Late, Slow Pay, Etc.
No matter how advanced our offices become technologically, or how devoted we are to improving the quality of dental care we provide, some everyday problems persist. The causes of many of these problems are primarily because we are dealing with human beings, not manufacturing widgets. Dealing with human beings is unpredictable, time-consuming, and stress-inducing. Even when we have devoted considerable energy to designing our appointment times so each important stage and step of treatment can be accomplished, our patients can surprise us with unexpected issues or concerns. The best we can do is address problems as they arise, and attempt to keep calm while we do it.
One suggestion might be to keep them on a list for filling in the schedule on a “today’s schedule only” basis. This means rather than putting them in the computer for two hours two weeks from now, we keep them in a separate file to fill in a hole that might occur today. This can work for patients who are able to come on short notice, who actually want to have their treatment accomplished, and who live or work fairly close to the office. Another idea might be to schedule a long appointment to complete all necessary treatment on a day when the dentist does not normally work. Reluctant or inconsiderate patients may keep this type of appointment when they know the dentist and assistant are only coming in to take care of them. All treatment is done, a very productive day is logged, and a source of headaches is removed.
For example, an office policy might state that if Paul the Patient is under ten minutes late, he can be seen in the dentist and/or hygienist’s schedule for a regular appointment. If he is over ten minutes but less than twenty minutes late, he might still be seen in the dentist’s schedule for his normal treatment. Over ten minutes but less than twenty in the hygienist’s schedule might result in some portions of the appointment being delayed until another time, for example, periodontal probing or necessary radiographs. If he is over twenty minutes late in the dentist’s or hygienist’s schedule, he will need to be re-appointed.
Sensitive and “Jumpy”
All offices have their share of problems that occur frequently – it is just part of providing dental treatment to the public. Everyday problems occur every day! Having policies in place to help deal with these issues can make them a little less stressful to handle.
Carol Tekavec RDH is the Director of Hygiene for McKenzie Management. Carol can improve your hygiene department in just one day of training “in your office.” Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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