12.5.14 Issue #665 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Productive Scheduling for 2015
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

Every shoe does not fit every person, and this is certainly true for scheduling techniques. In order to have a perfect day, you must have enough patients to fill the perfect day. Otherwise, you are thrilled just to have patients in the chair. Let’s look at a perfect world scenario:
What does it mean to have a “productive schedule”?

1. A daily production goal for each provider in the practice, opposed to a practice goal. A practice goal gives no accountability to the Schedule or Hygiene Coordinator, as each one is hoping that the other will make up the short-fall for daily production.

2. Production blocks each day for high production appointments such as quadrant dentistry, crowns, implants, orthodontic banding and/or root canals, if that is productive for you and doesn’t take two appointments of one-hour each, etc.

3. Emergency blocks to allow time to see emergency patients during your day without disrupting the perfect schedule that you have.

4. New Patient blocks for those patients who are entering your practice for a comprehensive exam and professional cleaning with your hygienist.

Let’s take a look at each of these four items individually.

Daily Production Goals
If you don’t have a roadmap to your destination, you have no idea how you are going to get there. You will eventually arrive, but not without detours and extra time spent on the road. Your schedule is no different. You must have a roadmap for a perfect day. 

Let’s say your gross production goal is $3,000/day, which means $375/hour if you work an 8-hr day or $62.50/increment if you work on 10-minute increments. To have a perfect day, determine how many “high production” blocks you need (let’s say two) which will be equal to $2,400 or more. The remaining $600 for the day is comprised of the fillings that need to be done. Since emergencies and new patient appointments are blocked, those times are not factored into the daily goal until the day those blocks are released, which is usually the day before for emergencies and no more than a week for new patients. If you only average about one high production type of appointment per day, then the remaining $1,800 is comprised of the lower production type of appointments.

You may be thinking that you don’t want to look at patient appointments as a dollar value. Think about the time that you spend with low production appointments compared to high production appointments. Have you ever spent a day seeing 15 patients and produced less than $2,000? Then the next day you see 10 patients and produced $5,000? Wonder why this happens? Because you are not scheduling to a daily goal!

Production Blocks
There is nothing more aggravating than to have a patient in the chair who needs a crown because the old silver filling you have been “watching” for 10 years finally fractured. Unfortunately, since there are no blocks for high production, you don’t have an opening for the time needed until January instead of this week.

Production blocks are treated like gold and never touched until needed. How many do you need? Run your Production Summary Report for the past 12 months and see how many “high production” appointments you average per day to give you an idea of where to start.

A good Schedule Coordinator understands that a full day of short filling appointments will probably not make goal and will work you and your assistants into the ground. A day that is mixed with long appointments and short appointments is much easier to manage and usually makes goal. But if this is not blocked, “holes will be filled” and the day will end up with all short appointments.

These blocks are held up until 1-2 days prior to the block, and then released to patients who are waiting for an earlier appointment (the reason for a healthy “priority list”) or often an emergency patient needing treatment can be offered these appointments. Obviously, at some point they must be filled with a patient.

Emergency Blocks
The number of blocks that you need daily is equal to how many emergency patients you see a year divided by the number of days that you work. Right before lunch is a great place to block for emergencies. If you have one, you have the flexibility to work through lunch if you have two assistants. If you don’t have any emergencies that morning, you get a longer lunch than normal if you choose.

Create a list of what YOU consider to be a true emergency and make sure your Schedule Coordinator follows the guidelines: kept awake last night, obvious swelling, pain meds aren’t helping, woke up with the pain this morning, etc. “Emergency” patients can play havoc with a perfect schedule if the calls are not triaged properly. 

New Patient Blocks
The number of blocks you need for new patients is equal to how many comprehensive exams you had last year divided by the number of days worked. Productive scheduling can be a reality when following these four criteria and re-reading Sally’s article above on implementing scheduling accountability.

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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