Scheduling appointments and properly assigning provider, assistant, and chair time can help the front office team to schedule more effectively.
It can be difficult for a new front office team member to learn the ins and outs of scheduling. It can be even more challenging if they have limited dental experience. To effectively schedule patient appointments, it’s important to understand where the doctor and assistant are during an operative procedure.
Scheduling is such an important task in the dental office. I’ve seen offices that are very busy but unproductive. The goal is to maximize the doctor’s time and be as productive as possible.
In Dentrix you can schedule provider time and assistant time. This can help a new front office team member to understand where a doctor can be double-booked to maximize their schedule and where they can’t. Using this system can also help a new doctor to know where they need to be and when to effectively manage their time.
You can adjust provider, assistant, and chair time within a patient’s appointment. When scheduling a new appointment select the search button (>) next to Appt Length in the Appointment Information window.
The Appointment Pattern Time window will appear. Select the time units, then whether those time units should be designated as Provider, Assistant or Chair time.
In this example, the fist 10 minutes of the appointment is designated as assistant time for the assistant to seat the patient and place topical anesthetic. The next 10 mins is designated as provider time for the doctor to anesthetize. The next 10 minutes is assistant time while the patient gets numb, and the final two 10 minute time frames are provider time for the doctor to perform the procedure.
Scheduling using dedicated time units allows the doctor to be most productive because instead of waiting for the assistant to finish their part of the procedure they can be working in another operatory. For example, doctor could anesthetize a patient in one operatory and while waiting for that patient to get numb, they can work on another patient. I’ve seen this work well in offices, especially during procedures that require a lot of assistant time, such as a crown prep. While the assistant is making the temporary, the doctor can work on another patient in another operatory to be most productive. Time is money as they say, so it’s important for dental offices to be as productive as possible.
Time units dedicated to a provider (X) can’t be booked in more than two appointments at a time. This eliminates the doctor being booked in more than two operatories at once.
Not only can you can adjust appointment time patterns within an individual appointment, but you can also set them for specific procedure codes, so they will be pre-set when you are scheduling an appointment for that procedure code in the future.
Let’s take the crown code D2740, for example. In the Procedure Code Editor, you can select how the time units are set up for this procedure code.
Once you have allocated the Provider, Assistant, and Chair time for the procedure, save your changes. And the next time you schedule that procedure for patients, it will be easy for your providers to know where they need to be, and you can better manage their time.
Scheduling appointments and properly assigning provider, assistant, and chair time can help the front office team to schedule more effectively. It gives them the ability to know where they can double-book a provider, and more importantly, where they can’t.
For additional information, read the following :
- Changing the Appointment Length in Dentrix
- Changing Appointment Lengths
- Customizing Procedure Codes to Fit Your Office Workflow
By Charlotte Skaggs
Certified Dentrix Trainer and The Dentrix Office Manager columnist
Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for over 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at email@example.com.