“Another last-minute cancellation… why does this keep happening?”
“I wonder how other dental practices promote preventive treatment.”
“What are the chances that patient will call back?”
A recent conversation with a Dental Office Manager revealed a few nagging complaints she regularly overhears from her staff. We were discussing common day-to-day frustrations in running a patient-reliant business, looking for ways to rise above them. I am a champion of practice management software – that’s a given – but it goes further than that. Any program can only be as effective as you make it, with trained staff who understand its potential and ensure its consistent, client-centric application.
The topic of internal processes and appointment scheduling effectiveness always brings to mind one of my father’s favourite quotes, loosely: How can you expect different – improved – outcomes if you keep doing things the same way?
Every aspect of your interactions with patients presents an opportunity to build positive perceptions. From the moment they arrive in your waiting room until the door closes behind them, each touchpoint is an opportunity to display empathy, direct communication, smooth processes, knowledgeable advice, and future focus. It is a mindset that can become intrinsic to your service.
Under the umbrella of ABELDent’s Practice Management By Objectives™ methodology, we developed a series of relevant KPIs – Key Performance Indicators – to assess your Internal Processes and optimize Appointment Scheduling protocols. You can easily extrapolate the data you will need from within your existing ABEL software database.
Here are seven quantifiable measures that will help you zero in on areas of opportunity. The formulas presented assume all parameters used are for the same time period.
If you find your own numbers falling short of industry benchmarks, consider some of these short- and long-term initiatives:
- Track patient appointment history and be proactive in bookings, confirmations and reminders
- Communicate and apply cancellation policies
- Book next appointments before the patient leaves the office
- Emphasize the value of preventative measures with patients
- Monitor production reports
- Follow up regarding outstanding treatment plans and recalls
- Establish and follow strict diagnostic protocols
- Provide effective case presentations
- Employ in-house specialists as much as possible
- Provide advanced clinical training/continuing education
- Provide and refresh staff customer service training
I hope this detailed information is helpful, or that at least it gets you thinking about your own internal processes. These KPIs are just one of the categories of the strategic practice management we champion. I invite you to continue this conversation by attending one of our webinars or by reaching out to a member of our team at any time.