Don’t Just Fill Your Schedule, Build Your Schedule

Make building your schedule part of your daily routine.

Updated 6/30/20

When I ask offices what routines they have in place in their practices, the first routines they mention deal with insurance and collections. Most offices spend much more time on insurance and collections than working on their schedule. Unfortunately, when they do turn their attention to the schedule, it isn’t as part of a daily routine. It’s in reaction to the day–a front office desperately trying to find a patient to fill the 2:00 opening for tomorrow because the original patient just canceled, for example.

So, how can you make the most of the time you do spend on your schedule? The answer is becoming proactive rather than reactive–devoting a certain amount of time per day to call patients and schedule restorative or continuing care appointments.

Building your schedule this way sometimes ends up killing two birds with one stone: you end up continuing someone’s care and filling an immediate hole in the schedule.

Now you may ask, “If we end up filling a hole, what is the difference between proactively calling patients versus reactively calling patients?”  The answer is based on the Dentrix lists that you use to call your patients from.

Proactive Lists

Use the Unscheduled Treatment Plan List to build the doctor’s schedule and the Continuing Care List to build the hygiene schedule. Calling patients found on these lists on a regular basis in order to keep your dentist’s and hygienist’s schedules full, is a great way to fill up the holes.

Reactive Lists

Use the ASAP List and Unscheduled Appointment List (commonly referred to as the Broken Appointment List). The patients on these lists are either already scheduled and want to be seen sooner, or they were once scheduled so they may be more open to coming in at the last minute.

Proactively-Reactive List

It may sound confusing, but stick with me here. Use the Treatment Manager List to be proactively-reactive, meaning you can work to fill the open appointment time with treatment of the same or greater value than the appointment that was originally scheduled. This tool helps you maintain the production you need to achieve your goals. For example, if a crown appointment cancelled, then you can use the Treatment Manager to find other patients that have crown procedures treatment planned, and call them first to fill the schedule hole.

Make the time to be proactive, and make building your schedule part of your daily routine.

Learn More

For additional information about using these lists to fill holes in your schedule, read Using the Treatment Manager to Keep Your Schedule Full, and Mining for Gold: Three Reports for Searching Out Unscheduled Treatment.

If you found these ideas helpful, learn more about the Dentrix Profitability Coaching Program, where one of our highly skilled and experienced profitability coaches teaches you and your team these and many other great concepts, strategies and ideas.

By Miranda Reed, Henry Schein One Practice Consultant