Scheduling for maximum profitability

Sept. 24, 2013
Your schedule controls the productivity and the profitability of your practice. There are only so many hours in a day, and each of those hours has a certain value, based upon your level of production.

by Michael Kesner, DDS

Your schedule controls the productivity and the profitability of your practice. There are only so many hours in a day, and each of those hours has a certain value, based upon your level of production.

Therefore, the people in the office that control your schedule also control your profitability. Whoever schedules appointments has an important job. They need to understand how to schedule for maximum profitability.

I like to keep the schedule as simple and uncomplicated as possible. I think many of the different scheduling techniques taught today are too complicated, and often make things more difficult than they should be. For instance, one scheduling technique is to have each procedure with assistant time, then doctor time, followed by assistant time and sometimes even "clean-up-the-room" time.

Another technique is to block out time on the schedule for specific procedures for specific times of the day, or sometimes even specific days of the week.

There is also "perfect day" scheduling in which the scheduler puts certain types of procedures at certain times on certain days so that, once in a blue moon, you can say that you had a "perfect day."

A perfect day to me is one where we produced more than our daily goal. I do not really care what time of the day I do the crown prep. As long as I get to do it, I am happy.

For me, these different scheduling methods are trying to organize and schedule something that is not always possible.

In other words, we are trying to schedule people that are sometimes late, sometimes spend 10 minutes in the restroom, sometimes decide they want to see their account history for the last five years, sometimes decide to do two crowns instead of one, sometimes take forever to get numb, or sometimes will not stop talking so you can work.

No matter how hard we try, it is almost impossible to get all the doctor times in one column of the schedule to line up perfectly with the assistant times in the next column and vice versa. Also, the "perfect day" rarely happens, and if it does ... so what?

Trying to schedule all of these constantly changing factors is trying to make order out of something that is chaotic by its nature. To have maximum profitability, an appointment schedule has to be a living thing that is constantly evolving and changing throughout the day.

My team and I do what is necessary to make the schedule for that day work "on-the-fly." The schedule we start with is rarely the schedule we end with.

To build a multimillion dollar practice, you must know how to build flexibility into a schedule for maximum daily profitability while also staying on time.

Your team and you must know how to work together as a well-oiled machine to make changes and problem solve during the day so the schedule works for -- not against -- you.

My team members wear two-way radios so they are in constant communication about where the doctor needs to go next, or if a patient is ready to check out, or if a patient is going to the consult room, or if they are fitting an emergency patient into the schedule. This makes us efficient and effective with our time.

Making your schedule work for maximum profitability during the day is like the quarterback of a football team making an audible play change at the line of scrimmage. The defense changed its alignment so the offense must also change its formation.

Your team needs to make "audible play changes" throughout the day to make your schedule have maximum profitability and lower stress.

Our objective is always to get the dentistry done today, which we can do because of our efficiency. I love same-day dentistry because it eliminates cancellations, reschedules, and no-shows. Also, the profitability with same-day-dentistry is about 90% higher than if you schedule it for next week.

Patients also love to have treatment done the same day because they are already there and do not have to take off work again.

When all the necessary pieces fit together, you will be surprised to see how much dentistry your team and you can produce in a day when scheduling for maximum profitability.

Dr. Mike Kesner's practice ranks on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in America. He is author of the book "Multi-Million Dollar Dental Practice" and CEO of Quantum Leap Success in Dentistry. They teach more production, higher profits, and less stress. Contact him at [email protected].

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