Are you working too hard but not feeling productive enough? Creating a “Schedule to Goal” plan for the year will support a Zen-like day. Begin creating your Schedule to Goal system with an annual planning session:
• Dedicate four hours of team-doctor time during the last quarter of each year.
• Schedule off-site, in a conducive environment, away from work.
Map It Out by Reverse Engineering
For simplicity sake, let’s use one million dollars as the production goal for 2020.
Figure out how many days you will see patients in the next year. In this example, you have two hundred days open for patient care.
Divide the number of days into your 2020 production goal. This results in $5,000 daily, net-collectable, production goal. Net-collectable production is the production amount you expect to collect.
The dental industry standard for production is 70-75% from the doctor’s schedule and 25-30% from the hygiene schedule. If your practice sees sedation patients, implant patients, and high-end treatment, you may discover your hygiene production is closer to 15-20% of your total production.
In our example, the doctor will produce $3,750 per day and the hygiene department will produce $1,250 per day. Block out your daily schedule for each room, and each department, to match 70-75% doctor procedures and25-30% hygiene procedures.
Scheduling Tips to help your Schedule to Goal plan
Schedule the more difficult procedures and larger treatment plans, early in the day.
Consider these types of patient services for scheduling your blocks of time:
- New patient appointments
- Crown/bridge preps
- Seat crowns
- New patient comprehensive exam, etc.
Consider these types of appointments for scheduling your hygienist’s blocks of time:
- Scaling and root planing
- New patient periodontal evaluation or charting
- Routine cleanings
These blocks ensure the opportunity to meet your production goal for 2020.
Things to consider:
- The Board of Dentistry in many states requires new patients to see the doctor first. Coordinate your new patients to see the doctor first with a block in the hygiene schedule for after the patient sees doctor.
- Know your new patient goal for each month, and plan your schedule with these necessary blocks of time.
Step-By-Step Scheduling to Goal
- Schedule an annual planning meeting (2-4 hours) with doctor and team during the last quarter of each year.
- Know the total production needed for the following year.
- Know your new patient goal for the following year. If you met this year’s goal, increase by 10-15% for next year.
- Know how many days you will be seeing patients the next year.
- Create your schedule with blocks during this team meeting.
- Bring an easel pad on a tripod, large sticky note pads, and markers to map out this plan.
- As a team, map out your procedures (pre-block) on your schedule to meet your production goal for the following year.
- Write out your ideas and begin your plan, using your easel with colored sharpies.
- If you are open four days a week, I recommend you have four different scheduling templates.
- This means that on Monday you have a new patient appointment at 8 AM, on Tuesday it may be available at 4 PM, Wednesday 11 AM, and on Thursday it could be 1 PM.
- For hygiene patients, offer the scaling and root planing appointments at different times on different days. If you have scaling and root planing appointments only available at 8 AM and 2 PM, some patients will not be available at those exact times due to work or childcare, etc.
- For larger cases, offer first thing in the morning, and, if not possible, another block right after lunch. I suggest the larger cases be offered only earlier in your day. Let your patients know why these procedures are most effective if done early.
- Color code the different patient procedures.
- When you see a specific color on your schedule, you know what type of patient is inside the block of time.
Make or Break It
If you find clinicians are running behind, and patients are waiting, it’s time to get a stopwatch and know the true time it takes for clinicians to complete various patient procedures. It is okay to make adjustments to your Schedule to Goal plan if needed.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
The more organized you are, the more your patients and the entire team will appreciate your dental practice. Strategizing and organizing your Schedule to Goal plan will help improve cash flow because you commit to using this formula.
An organized Schedule to Goal means you can put away your roller skates. Enjoy your day at the office. Plan for more raving fans and a practice that is sustainable.
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS has been an industry leader for over 15 yrs. She is also the founder of Dental Practice Solutions and an AGD Certified Dental Practice University Online Training Center.