2.17.12 Issue #519 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Schedule to Your Production Goals
Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

Dental practice owners consistently say that a primary factor in changing their revenue after working with McKenzie Management is simply: “knowing the numbers.” It seems so simple, and yet so dynamic.

Setting production and collection goals for your practice (as well as many other goals) is vital to success. The art of scheduling to a daily production goal for the dentist and the hygienist is paramount to the goal process. And yes - it is an art. It is similar to putting an ever-changing puzzle together.

Let's start with your schedule first, and let's assume that your goal is $3,000 a day.

Key #1: 10-Minute Units
Your appointment schedule should be set up for 10 minute increments opposed to 15.  Why? Let's say that you only need 50 minutes for a procedure (this is true for hygiene, as well). Time is Money! If you are on a 15 minute appointment schedule, you don't have an option for 50 minutes. You only have 45 or 60.

What does this mean to you? If your goal is $3,000/day, this is $375/hour for an 8-hour day or $6.25/minute. When you schedule a $400 procedure for 60 minutes, you are making $6.67/minute. If you schedule the same procedure for 50 minutes, you are making $8.00/minute. This is a difference of $80/hour! Time is Money!

Key #2: Number of Assistants vs. Number of Treatment Rooms
In our consulting with practices, it is common to see 3 columns for the doctor. When asking why, the answer is always the same: “because we have 3 treatment rooms.” It is impossible for the dentist to be in 3 treatment rooms at the same time. You can’t even be in 2 rooms at a time so that is why the appointment times must be staggered.

The question becomes this: How much time do I overlap the appointments? This depends on how many assistants you have and if you are willing to work alone at the end of an appointment.

Example A: You have 2 assistants and you stagger your appointments 10 minutes. This is easy because the second assistant can seat the next patient, review the consent form, place the bib, take the blood pressure and all the other preparatory steps that precede your entering the treatment room.

Example B: You have 1 assistant and you stagger patient appointments by 10 minutes. This is still effective and doable, but you must be willing to finish the patient without an assistant since your assistant must leave the treatment room to retrieve the next patient from the reception room and prepare them for treatment.

Example C: You have 1 assistant and you don't overlap your patients because you prefer that your assistant stay with you throughout the procedure and assist with the dismissal process.

All of these options are okay. But what is NOT okay is when you are working with 2 assistants and you are not overlapping. This is a waste of assistant time and is only increasing the salary overhead for your team. Take a look at your schedule if you are not overlapping right now. If you are seeing 8 patients/day of various lengths, by overlapping the appointments 10 minutes, you can pick up an average of 70 additional minutes! This is an additional $437.50 based on a goal of $3000/day.

Key #3: An Artistic Schedule Coordinator
A good scheduler understands that too many non-productive appointments, such as crown cementations, will not allow for the daily goal to be met unless the day has a very long and productive appointment such as crown & bridge, implants, orthodontic start, etc. On these days, this is the perfect place to schedule non-productive appointments.  Unfortunately, in many practices, these appointments are not the “norm.”

This means that the scheduler must be able to look at the day and determine if it can handle more “less production” appointments or do they need to go onto another day.  Pre-blocking for “high production” may be helpful, but can also be a hindrance because not every patient can come in during the time that is blocked. An artful scheduler can simply look at the day and see where to put high production and mix with low production appointments in order to achieve the daily goal.

To simply “fill holes” will not consistently achieve the daily goal, and can also create very hectic patient days with low production.

Hygiene schedules are an excellent example of this concept. A day of all patients needing radiographs will achieve the daily goal. But when all those same patients are scheduled 6 months + 1 day, that day will not make goal since no one will need radiographs. An artistic hygiene coordinator understands the necessity of having half the day with patients needing radiographs and the other half that do not. It is also much easier for the hygienists.

What about that 3rd treatment room that you have? The business team doesn't care what you do with it! They should only schedule you for 2 treatment rooms. If you get behind and the assistants want to use it - that is their call. In fact, you should call us at McKenzie Management 877-777-6151 and we'll show you how to increase your patient base to fill that 3rd room!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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