Understanding Unfilled Hours on Your Practice Advisor Report

Make sure providers’ schedules are correctly set up in Dentrix and use Dentrix features to fill holes in the schedule.

If you have ever had the opportunity to study the Practice Advisor Report in Dentrix before, you know that it is a very powerful tool. There is so much information available in this one report—information like:

  • Unfilled hours for the dentist and hygienist(s)
  • Production totals for the entire practice, production totals based on position in the practice (dentist or hygienist), and production totals by each provider
  • Numbers of treatment cases presented vs. treatment cases accepted so that you can track your overall case acceptance percentages
  • Collections broken down by provider and accounts receivable information
  • New patient information, including referral sources
  • Broken appointment information, including lost revenue from broken appointments and number of broken appointments not reappointed

It’s important that your Practice Advisor Report is showing your accurate information, but the report will only be as accurate as the data you have entered into Dentrix.

One of the items listed in the Practice Advisor is Unfilled Hours. Unfilled hours are open time on your schedule. Unfilled hours can cause the practice to lose money because there is not a patient in the chair generating revenue, and the practice is paying overhead expenses as well as the hourly salary for the hygienist or assistant to work. This makes me think of the old saying “Time is money,” which in a dental office is very true.

In order for the unfilled hours to be accurately reflected in the report, you must have each provider’s working days and hours set up properly in Dentrix. In the Appointment Book, select Setup > Provider Setup. Choose a provider ID, then click Setup. Set the hours for each day that the provider works. Having each provider’s hours properly set up is necessary for the Practice Advisor to calculate unfilled hours correctly.

Unfilled hours are broken down on the Practice Advisor Report by dentist totals and hygiene totals, as well as by individual provider ID numbers. The Practice Advisor also gives a value to those unfilled hours which would be lost potential revenue because there was not a patient on the schedule.

This can be very valuable information. After reviewing the information, ask yourself, why are the hours unfilled? In my experience, this often happens because the office hasn’t been making a routine effort to reach out to patients and get them scheduled (or rescheduled) for appointments.

What Can You Do to Reclaim Those Unfilled Hours?

You can reduce your unfilled hours for hygiene patients by working on your Continuing Care List regularly. Send e-mails and texts to patients who are due for continuing care. If patients don’t respond, follow up with a phone call.

To reduce doctor unfilled hours, you should work on your unscheduled treatment plans regularly. The Treatment Manager is great tool to use to contact patients with unscheduled treatment plans. Call the patients and explain their treatment and why it is important. Be ready to present them with payment options like CareCredit to make the financial aspect of their treatment easier to accept.

I find that many times when an office is busy, these lists aren’t worked as frequently. Set time aside every week for a team member to work on these lists to keep a consistently full schedule.

The Dentrix Practice Advisor provides a great deal of valuable information which can be a powerful tool in evaluating the overall health of your practice.

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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 vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.