The battle of the appointment book
Scheduling is a chess game. It takes skill and planning to make just the right moves so that, at the end of the day, you’re not in checkmate with the entire team backing you into a corner, and you wondering what you did that caused total chaos. The schedule is the one thing in the dental practice that affects every team member, but running it properly is often not taken seriously. The problems I find in the dental practices I work with are completely fixable, with a little planning.
Ø Front office: “Too many people are scheduling appointments, and my appointment book is a mess.”
My first response to this is, “Well, it’s not your appointment book. It belongs to the entire office, but you can take back control of it.” I think it’s a good thing to have clinical teams that can multitask and schedule appointments; they just need direction. You, as scheduling coordinators, need to tell them what can be scheduled where. The clinical team does not have time (or the visual skills) to look over four to eight columns of treatment rooms to see if patients are scheduled in the appropriate place. Map out the appointment book for your clinical team so they can schedule an appointment easily and correctly.
Most practice management software has a way of preblocking areas of the appointment book so that the team can quickly see open spots that fit the parameters of an appointment they need to schedule. Some examples for preblocking are emergency time, crown seats, ortho checks, and other nonproductive appointments. These nonproductive appointments are important to block time for because they should not be scheduled in high productive time blocks. If a clinical team member does not know where to schedule a crown seat, he or she will just stick it wherever … and you know that will cause a problem between the front office and the back office. If you map out your appointment book and your clinical team sticks to the plan, you will not hear, “She just didn’t schedule that there, did she?” in your office anymore.
Ø Back office: “All the front office is concerned about is production, and I need to get this patient in this week.”
This is a tough one because you are responsible for taking care of your patients’ needs and making sure the office reaches its production goals. Like I said, it’s not your appointment book; it belongs to the entire team. This applies to the clinical team as well. If you have a patient in your chair who requires an appointment this week and there is not a preblock that fits your needs, then it is up to you to talk to your scheduling coordinator. If you and your scheduling coordinator can look at the appointment book together and she understands the importance of scheduling the patient in this week, then the two of you can come up with a solution together. The scheduling coordinator can make adjustments in her goals for the rest of the month to make up for the disruption in her initial plan.
There will always be exceptions, even when you have your schedule mapped out. When the front office and the back office can discuss it, the magic can happen and the teams can schedule together harmoniously. Read entire article CLICK HERE