As we move through the post-COVID-19 era, it's safe to assume that many practices will see patient volume decrease. We will learn a lot more in the future, but patient volume is one factor that is currently decreasing practice production. The good news is that specific systems-based strategies can improve patient volume even if it will be lower than in the past.
Combine multiple services into one patient appointment. If multiple treatments can happen during one appointment, it will help to increase efficiency. An additional benefit is that longer appointments tend to be less stressful and fatiguing for the doctor. To further decrease stress and fatigue, we also recommend that more complex procedures be scheduled in the morning while the doctor and staff are fresh. If this can all be accomplished, it will go a long way toward increasing efficiency and lowering stress.
Don't forget to conduct a procedural time study. A procedural time study often shows practices that thought they were highly efficient how they can shorten many patient visits by 10 minutes or more. Adding up all of those 10-minute savings means that every 12 years the practice would increase doctor production by the equivalent of two years -- without working any extra time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the procedural time study may only show how you can save five minutes per hour. But keep in mind that this still adds up to one year for every 12 years of doctor production time.
Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit LevinGroup.com or email email@example.com.
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