In business, time is money. In dentistry, time is controlled by the practice's scheduling system, and while dentists don't sell time by the hour, they inevitably use time relative to the annual production. Unfortunately, many practices have become complacent, using outdated schedules that were developed years ago. While dentistry is different than operating a corporate business, some business time management principles can be reoriented to work well within a dental scheduling system, and applying them to your practice schedule can help increase efficiency and focus and also decrease stress and chaos.
Start your day with the most challenging (productive) cases. Highly successful people prioritize their day, often tackling their most challenging projects first. From a dental practice scheduling standpoint, the first priority of the day should be the most productive cases. Attempt to complete 65% to 70% of the daily production in the morning. By scheduling more complex cases in the morning, you're able to perform these procedures while you are most fresh. In addition, you and your team will experience less fatigue at the end of the day, leaving plenty of energy for completing minor procedures and preparing for the next day.
Don't forget to be prepared. Dental practices should be prepared for every patient, ensuring that everything needed for treatment is set up, all financial arrangements have been made, and all necessary lab reports have been returned. Being unprepared for patients wastes time and energy and also increases stress.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm, and one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry. Dr. Levin has authored 65 books and more than 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. You can sign up for the Levin Group Tip of the Day.
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