1). Scheduling effectively requires that you identify key information about your practice. To accomplish this would minimally require that you identify the following:
a. Name all the various kinds of appointments that could possibly be scheduled in your office (i.e. what kinds of appointments do you schedule).
b. Determine what numbers of each of these types of appointments are needed to treat:
- For each kind of patient/each treatment plan in your practice
- What is your basic “mix” of various appointments needed to see all existing patients (i.e. what is the total number of patient appointments that must be scheduled in a given time period to see all active, retained, and observation patients (usually total number needed each month)
c. How many days/month do you desire to work
d. What days/week do you desire to work
e. What hours will you work to accommodate patient/parent needs or
f. How will you incorporate flexibility and responsiveness to accommodate “key appointments” (exams, starts, retains)
g. The ability to run on time every moment of every day
- The ability to respond to the unexpected
- The ability to immediately accommodate key appointments at a
- The ability to adjust your schedule for seasonal and other
- The ability to adjust staffing in response to peaks and valleys time THEY want
- Key appointments DRIVE YOUR FUTURE
“peaks and valleys”
- Peaks and valleys affect only key appointments!
- Adjusting staffing costs is a key to CONTROLING OFFICE
Staff salary is by far the largest single overhead expense
h. The ability to maintain or, better yet, improve quality standards.
2). To minimally accomplish all the above objectives dictates that you establish scheduling templates based upon a firm knowledge of your own office statistics. This will require that you immediately return to your office and do the following:
a. Develop a list of all types of appointments that exist in your office
b. Time all appointment types in terms of:
- Chair time needed
- Doctor time needed
- When in the appointment the doctor is needed
c. Establish how many of each type of appointment is currently needed to see all patients currently of record
d. Determine how many more of each type of appointment will be needed in the future to achieve your office (production) goals
e. Determine the appropriate number of weeks between each kind of appointment
f. Determine your staffing needs to accommodate your scheduling template
g. Develop trial scheduling templates that incorporate your physical plant limitations (number of chairs, etc) available staff, patient needs, appointment needs, and your office goals
3). One of your jobs to accomplish prior to Session 2 in 4 months is to do all the above and to develop templates for us to review together at Session 2. These templates will be implements prior to Session 3.
4). I have added for your benefit the following guidelines that we use in our office for you to reference as you develop your own appointment types, time needed for each etc… As you review our appointment types please reference the scheduling templates also provided. Keep in mind the key concepts.:
a. Schedule by chair
b. “Like” appointments together
d. Squeeze the day
5). Observe how these four key principles interplay as the templates are set up. Modify them to fit your own office’s personality, objectives, and needs.