Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This old proverb can apply to dentistry. Typically, an office will have patients who have outstanding treatment plans on the schedule for a hygiene appointment. These patients are your bird in the hand. It can benefit both the patient and your practice to provide these patients with their outstanding treatment the same day as their hygiene appointment.

In my experience, a patient is most motivated to proceed with a treatment plan while they are in the office. They received an educational explanation from the doctor and clinical team and they understand the importance of their treatment plan and the consequences of not getting it done. They had a discussion with the financial coordinator and understand their payment options. But then they leave the office and life gets in the way. The patient’s outstanding dental treatment goes to the bottom of their priority list.

What if we could provide the treatment while they are in the office and they are motivated? This is good for the patient for a couple of reasons. We all know dental problems do not go away. Over time they only become more extensive and costly. Secondly, since the patient is already in your office they can avoid taking additional time off from work to come to the dentist. The dental practice also benefits by providing same-day dentistry which increases case acceptance and practice production.

The key to being able to provide same-day dentistry is communication within the office. Communication starts at the beginning of the day with a morning meeting or daily huddle.

During your daily huddle you can discuss the patients who are coming in that day who have outstanding treatment plans. You can plan which operatory, doctor and assistant will be available during that time and may be able to provide same-day dentistry for those patients. You can plan when the financial coordinator will have a financial discussion with the patient regarding their estimated insurance benefits and payment options. This type of planning can streamline the treatment plan presentation to the patient.

The Dentrix Office Manager has a Daily Huddle Report within the Practice Advisor that lists the patients coming in for appointments on a given day and which of those patients have outstanding treatment plans. Open the Dentrix Office Manager > Analysis > Practice Advisor > Daily Huddle Report.


Then click Scheduled Patients Setup and check Patients with Treatment Plans.


You can use the Daily Huddle Report while you are discussing your upcoming day to identify which patients have outstanding treatment plans.



Having a daily huddle can improve office communication and possibly allow the office to provide same-day dentistry for some patients. In my experience, offices that have been able to implement same-day dentistry have seen great success with it.

I am a big proponent of offices having a daily huddle to improve office communication. This is a topic I am passionate about because I have seen it improve workflow for many offices. If you have questions about how to implement this in your office or how you can improve what you are already doing, please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


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