If you’re a practice owner, then you know that running a dental practice is running a business. That means there’s a lot of management that comes with it. You need to meet dividends, put together a team of dental health professionals who can keep your practice productive, and more.

While a dental practice is a business, most businesses aren’t like dental practices. Rather than accepting whatever client we can whenever we can, we need to schedule each client so that we can efficiently and effectively change lives on a daily basis without either getting overwhelmed or falling behind and not meeting our bottom line.

That’s why, for this week’s article, we’re telling you what you can to do improve your scheduling. 

1. Schedule to achieve productivity goals.

You’re a dentist. You’re a visionary. You own a dental practice; you run a business. And, like any business owner, there’s a place you want your enterprise to go. There’s a direction you want to go in. In fifteen years, where do you want your practice to be?

The only way you’re going to get there is by being as profitable as you can be by being as productive as you can be. Because without profitability, there’s no growth. So, forgo block scheduling (unless it’s working out for you). Don’t focus on seeing a set amount of patients, and start trying to work towards specific, measurable goals instead.

For example, instead of treating a certain amount of patients for cleanings each day, shift your efforts more broadly to treating a certain amount of patients for any procedure over the course of a whole month. This gives you more wiggle room; you don’t have to rely on case acceptance for one procedure. Only so many people need their teeth cleaned. If you hyperfocus on that procedure, you’re not capitalizing on other markets in dentistry—fillings, implants, etc. That’s a whole lot of untapped potential. People might not accept those more high-ticket items as much as the low-ticket ones, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still getting that high case acceptance rate for cleaning. In other words, you'll meet productivity goals much more easily when you're focused on the bigger picture and not on a daily agenda.

2. Let the patients choose when to come in.

If you tell patients what days they can come in and what days are unavailable, you’re going to make getting treatment harder for them. So, ask them what days work best for them instead. You’d be surprised how well this simple strategy works.

If they're only available at a time when somebody else is already slotted, then tell them that there's a conflict in the schedule but you can let them know if it frees up. Then ask them if another day will work. Your patients are busy people too with jobs, families, and more. We need to work with them and be sensitive to their needs if we want to get them to choose our practice rather than the one down the street.

3. Hire a scheduler or delegate that role to a front office team member. 

Some dental practices have a specific role of scheduler for this very purpose. If you’re interested in delegating this role to someone else, then promote someone on your front office team or hire someone new. Tune in to next week’s article to see what role the scheduler can play to really help your practice to grow.

What changes can you make to your scheduling?

These are only three strategies. There are tons more. We might be dental professionals, but running a practice means we know a thing or two about operating a business. If you’re a practice owner, start making improvements to your scheduling with one, two, or all three of these methods. 

And, if you're interested in more content like this, join the Trapped in an OP Facebook group today where dental professionals from around the world encourage, support, and advise each other!