Time equals profitability in the dental office, as more efficient procedures will lead to more patients being scheduled throughout the day. But dentists don’t have to shorten face-to-face time with patients or rush through procedures to make this possible. There are a few ways that dentists can make their offices operate more efficiently.
Plan for More Than Procedure Time
The time it takes to complete a procedure is fairly consistent (save for a few rare cases in which complications arise). The problem that some dental offices run into is that they often only consider the total time of a procedure to be how long a patient is in the chair.
When setting a schedule, make sure to take into account the setup and breakdown times of a procedure. Dental staff need time to prep the room before the patient arrives and time to sterilize equipment after the procedure is complete.
Not properly accounting for the entire time a procedure takes to complete can lead to over scheduling and overworked employees, which ultimately leads to a less efficient office.
Train Employees to Take on More Roles
By law, dental hygienists and other auxiliary staff members are allowed to perform certain procedures, clean equipment and take on other tasks around the office. Training your staff to handle these tasks will allow you to perform more procedures throughout the day.
Be sure to obtain a copy of the laws in your state so you can ascertain which tasks your dental team is legally allowed to take off your hands.
Set Up a Proper Patient Flow
One problem that dentists often run into disorganized treatment procedures. They often enter the room only to find out that hygienists have yet to take X-rays or gather a patient’s history.
This is especially important for new patients, who often require additional screening. Make sure to have a process in place that will allow you to get patients in and out of the office as efficiently as possible. Many people appreciate short visits, so this can even help convert new patients into returning customers.
Make Patients Comfortable
Dental anxiety can cause patients to become scared and uncomfortable while in the chair, which can increase the amount of time it takes to complete a procedure. Properly positioning patients can reduce this anxiety by making patients feel comfortable during long procedures. It also allows dentists work more quickly during procedures because patients will be in a position where it is easier to gain access to the area of treatment.
There are many dental chair accessories such as head and backrests, chair pads, and knee lifts that facilitate patients into a relaxing, comfortable and better position.
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