You have a hole in your hygiene schedule this afternoon and a big opening tomorrow? Where do you start? This is a common – even daily - challenge in all dental practices and one that requires you to have an office protocol so team members know how to tackle it.
Use your “Unscheduled List”
To fill the opening in this afternoon’s schedule, I would definitely start with your Unscheduled List. The Unscheduled List is a great tool for filling those short notice openings that come up because these patients have already been in your appointment book and are ready to reschedule. This list is located on the Appointment Book on the top of the screen under Appt List and is populated by patients who have either broken an appointment or clicked on the Wait/Will Call list button on the appointment.
No one likes a long, messy list
For those of you have let your Unscheduled List get out of control and don’t even use it any more, now is a great time to clean it up and get back to using one of the best features of your Dentrix software. My recommendation is to keep this list very current, dating back only about 6-8 weeks. The goal is to keep your Unscheduled List a short, quick call list to help you fill those annoying short notice cancellations. To maintain a short, useful list you’ll need to take regular action to move names off of it. In other words, once a patient’s appointment has been moved to the Unscheduled List, don’t just leave it there! Call the patient and get them re-appointed. Working the Unscheduled List is just another part of your weekly office management routine and you should make room for it in your schedule just as you do for collection calls.
If you have called a patient 3 times to re-appoint them and they are still making up excuses not to come in or you just can’t get them to call you back, it is time to kick them off your list. (Now don’t worry, if you delete this appointment off the Unscheduled List, the patient will still show up on another list so you will not lose track of her.) I suggest using the Office Journal to document your phone calls whenever you make a phone call to a patient to try and reschedule their appointment, this way you or anyone else in the office can see the attempts made to re-appoint the patient.
If you are one of those offices that has stopped using this amazing feature, it is time to get to it. There is a newer feature inside of the Unscheduled List that will allow you to “purge” your list down to a manageable level. (Now again, don’t worry, any appointments that you purge off the list will show up on another list.) Are you wondering “what other list?” Good! Read my next post and you will find out.