A Patient’s Patience
We’re no strangers to long waits for our annual physical and dental checkups. Waiting beyond one’s scheduled appointment is already seen as something that any patient should expect. However, not all patients have the patience to wait. According to an article Dentistry Today, patients who are forced to wait for more than 20 minutes for their medical appointment are more likely to leave the clinic unsatisfied. Luckily, according to the same article, dentists are known to have lesser wait times than other medical practitioners, although there are still a few dentists that make their patients wait for more than 20 minutes, and sometimes even more than an hour.
Importance of Proper Scheduling
Proper scheduling and appointment management can prevent long wait times and improve patient satisfaction. Meanwhile, proper scheduling can aid dental clinics in being cost-effective and productive, and also assist staff in preparing for different types of operations. Proper appointment management can help reduce wasted time and streamline the operations and result in satisfied clients. As such, we’ll be taking a look at different tips to help you with your dental practice’s scheduling:
Hire A Competent Secretary
Sometimes, all you need is a well-trained, well-equipped, and well-mannered secretary to help you manage your appointments and properly bridge communication between you and your dental clinic’s clients. You can invest in cloud-based scheduling and productivity software that can make things easier for everyone in the clinic to be notified, access, and modify appointments as they come, and also to update or remind patients of their appointments as well. A good secretary or front desk staff can help minimize cancellations, no-shows, and scheduling conflicts through proper communication and appointment logging with patients and the dental practitioners.
Use Social Media and Your Website to Your Advantage
Remember, many consumers use social media to look up products and services, and that includes dental services. So if you don’t have a social media page or a website, it’s vital that you set one up now. You can use social media and your own dental clinic’s website to allow patients to schedule and make appointments, as well as to inquire on their appointment status. Just make sure that you have your secretary or a designated scheduling staff actively manage the website and social media account (as well as your dental clinic’s email).
One thing you can do to optimize your schedule is to know how long specific procedures take. One of the biggest mistakes one can do is underestimating the time it takes for certain producers to finish, resulting in having the next patient waiting way past their appointment. So, try spending two weeks or a month in tracking different types of procedures to determine the average time it takes to do so, and inform your staff so that they can better schedule other client’s appointments and minimize waiting time.
Invest In Better Tools
One way to improve the speed at which you’re able to do procedures and allowing you to accept more patients is by investing in better equipment such as digital dental tools, and ortho appliances. Alternatively, you can partner with other specialized dental laboratories to assist you with certain operations or make custom-made and digitally enhance ortho appliances for faster treatment and better client satisfaction.
Mastering your dental clinic’s schedule is essential in both keeping your clients happy and being a productive clinic. That said, if you’re starting to notice longer wait times or even empty seats at the waiting room even though you have a fully-booked day, then it’s time to evaluate and improve your scheduling practices.