How do you and your team utilize time when there are openings in the schedule? While openings throw off the rhythm of a team used to seeing patients, if you plan appropriately, this time can be used to create opportunities.
One of the best ways to use open time in the hygiene schedule is to focus a motivated hygienist on connecting with past due recall patients. No one holds more sway over recall patients than the hygienist, and a thoughtful call to past due patients greatly increases the likelihood those patients will schedule. It’s not uncommon for the hygienist’s efforts to result in several past due patients scheduling. When you consider the production gained from those calls, the effort is a great use of unscheduled time.
Another area of opportunity is to for the dentist and team to put extra effort into upcoming consults. Unscheduled time provides the team a chance to review treatment and financial options in more detail and consider how to personalize the consult. Since dentists and teams sometimes struggle to find time to prepare for consults, unscheduled time can help make preparation more thorough, and that will boost treatment acceptance following the consult.
The final area of opportunity to consider is to use unscheduled time for needed coaching and training. Proactive teams regularly identify areas for improvement, but the challenge is finding time to dedicate to making the practice stronger. When you effectively use unscheduled time to improve communication, teamwork, and/or the patient experience, you will improve future performance of the practice.
Even though you would prefer to always have a full schedule, the reality is that openings occur. Instead of becoming unproductive during that open time, focus your team on making the practice even stronger.