Obstacles to Achieving the Ideal Practice.”
Obstacle #7– Schedule or Lunar Landscape?
This week… one of the barriers
likely to be interfering in your ability to reach your goals.
Next week I’ll discuss proven solutions.
Some days, the
craters in the schedule are so large the whole thing looks
like the face of the moon – a desperate
wasteland of nothingness. One patient after another either
decides not to show or cancels. As the day painfully drags
on, your stress level and practice expenses are in a tight
race to see which one can reach the stratosphere first.
any consolation, you are not alone. Every
practice has patients who don’t show or routinely cancel
their appointments – from those that serve
primarily patients with lower dental IQs to those that treat
executives. That’s small comfort, however, when you
consider the annual cost of cancellations and no-shows, this
would easily pay for a couple staff members or any number
perks and benefits. It’s in the neighborhood
of $40,000 and that doesn’t
even begin to measure the cost of follow-up treatment that
you and your staff, patients are dealing with dozens of
demands, responsibilities, and stresses. They
are so overextended between employment issues, children’s
activities, volunteer responsibilities, economic concerns,
and so on that when it comes to a commitment that the patient
may not feel is absolutely necessary, such as a dental appointment,
it’s likely to be relegated to the “I’ll
get to it eventually” category.
No, you won’t
completely eliminate broken appointments and no shows,
but you can take steps to significantly reduce
those crater-size holes in the schedule. Next week,
see my number one recommendation for getting patients in
the chair when
they are supposed to be and other strategies to
minimize the schedule gaps.
your hygienist producing at
least 33% of his/her
total production in periodontal services?
out our "how to" manual
Are the majority of your patients on 6
Dilatush, VP of Professional Relations
for McKenzie Management
A series of short weekly chores designed to keep the
return on investment in technology at its highest level.
If you missed any of the previous issues
Bottlenecks? Automated Patient Check
Purpose: Proper processing at patient check-in will
provide exceptional customer service, smooth transition
to the treatment rooms, and much faster check-out.
What to do:
try to greet the patient by name. If your front
desk team is new or unfamiliar with most
patients, consider taking a portrait of your
images of patients do not have to be used just
for cosmetic imaging or treatment plan presentations.
Use a patient portrait to greet your patients
your patient information. Your practice management
system should be able to tell
the last medical
history was taken. Present the medical history
form at check in. Every patient (at check-in)
able to review the information you have on
file for their record. Every patient should be
to “update” their information BEFORE
they are seated. I would recommend printing
information on file (in the computer) and handing
it to the patient on a clipboard. Updating
information at check-out (as opposed to check-in)
the bottlenecks – not patient volume.
the patient information is updated, tell
the rest of the team that the patient
is ready to be seated.
Many of you have light systems. Some of you
have computerized this process. Most of the
time though, the back is
notified BEFORE the patient has been greeted
and processed properly. Try not to notify
the back until the patient
information is updated properly and completely.
the patient returns from the treatment room to
the front desk (assuming their information
properly), how long does it really take
to process a payment, make the next appointment,
and print a walkout
statement? Two minutes? Three minutes?
front desk is “bottlenecking”,
don’t get upset. Take a look at which patients
created the bottleneck and why it happened. From my
experience, the delays are caused because the front
desk didn’t have the correct information in the
computer system to process the patient efficiently.
I do realize
there are patients who forget they changed jobs or
that their spouse changed insurance plans.
Those instances are certainly in the minority. Ninety
five percent of your patients should be able to check
out of your dental practice in two to three minutes.
If you’re counting, that’s 160 patients
in an 8 hour work day!
of this newsletter are Administrative Assistants
in general dental practices. Many of those
practices see 25 to 30 patients per day. I want you
to visit a busy orthodontic practice some time. Orthodontists
have perfected the art of processing patients in and
out; they have to. Some of them actually see 160 patients
Remember … a
better check in = a better check out!
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study
club? Click here
Following your visit to my office
in the late 80's, my practice is producing way over 100% from that
time with 55% overhead. With some fine tuning, I know we have room
for growth. Thanks for all you have done for my practice and my
personal life. Your management assistance has allowed me to live
a high quality life all these years and spend quality time with
my family. I just wanted you to know that you are not just a practice
management consultant. What you do for our professional lives ripple
affects the quality of our personal lives as well. Looking forward
to working with you again.
Scot Mardis, DDS
Terre Haute, Indiana
satisfied are you with your practice?
Take a closer look.
your Hygiene Department to the Next Level
This "how to" manual will help you to establish a protocol for
your hygienist to implement new strategies, formulas, and
techniques for developing an ultra-successful hygiene department.
Price for this week's newsletter readers…… $37!!
Order before March 21st.
I moved my chairside assistant to the front desk to be our financial
coordinator after firing the previous one.
I didn't know how to train her and she was quickly becoming
overwhelmed. Knowing that this could no longer go on I decided to
send her to The
Center for Dental Career Development. Sally McKenzie and her
team showed my financial coordinator how to not only do every aspect
of her job but also coordinate her management
duties with the Dentrix Dental System™. I now have
security in knowing that my financial systems are functioning to
the best of their ability and the process even uncovered $110,000
in lost revenues! Bottomline…I made
money on my decision!"
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
Center for Dental Career Development is compatible with the following
computer management systems: Dentrix™, Softdent™,
Your Skills NOW!
Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental
737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
Missed any past issues of Sally's
(click an item to view archive)
This issue is sponsored
in part by:
Center for Dental Career Development