When your patients arrive for their appointments, can they expect to be seen right away? Or, as in many healthcare offices, will they be waiting up to an hour before they are taken back to a treatment room? Long wait times are a major source of patient dissatisfaction and lost revenue, but sometimes they seem impossible to avoid.
Fortunately, there are ways to boost your office’s efficiency, maximize patient volumes, and keep your practice running on time – here are a few of them.
1. Plan out your day
Huddles aren’t just for football! Taking a few minutes in the morning to meet with your team and go over the day ahead can really make a difference in your office’s efficiency. Talk about any emergency cases you had to fit in and how they will be handled, any patients with special considerations that may take extra time, and draw up a game plan. Things will always change throughout the day, but it’s helpful to have an initial point of reference.
2. Expect your patients to be on time
If you’re keeping your office on a tight schedule, hold your patients to the same expectations. When a patient shows up 20 minutes late for their routine appointment, try to provide some service (such as x-rays and an exam), but explain that they’ll have to make another appointment for the more time-consuming portions (like cleaning and fluoride treatments). The late patient will still feel valued and cared for, and the rest of your patients will be able to be seen on time.
3. Involve the whole team
Everyone in your practice has a role to play when it comes to keeping things running smoothly. Make sure that every team member is aware of the overall schedule, not just their own, by keeping the day’s timetable posted somewhere that your team can see. This allows them to jump in and help when someone finds themselves running behind.
This may mean doing things slightly out of order: if a hygienist finds herself needing more time with a patient than anticipated, the dentist may take the next patient back and complete the exam before the cleaning.
4. Streamline your processes
According to the highly successful business philosophy of Kaizen, there is always room for continuous improvement in every level of every process. Be aware of anything that is costing your team precious time: tools kept in inefficient locations, lack of communication between the front desk team and the clinical staff, and any busywork that could be automated or eliminated.
There are often digital and tech-based solutions, such as DentalForms, that can streamline a formerly clunky process. Your team will appreciate their jobs being made easier, and your patients will appreciate being seen in a timely fashion.
Click here to see how DentalForms can streamline your check-in process so your patients can be seen on time.
Lindsay Kyle, LindenWords