Ineffective Scheduling
An improved patient scheduling system added $114,000 in production!

Poor scheduling is the most significant barrier to realizing the true profitability of a dental practice. It also results in unnecessary emotional and physical stress, affecting doctors and team alike.

Effectively managed schedules can improve your bottom line by 11% on average!
During an initial discovery call, Dr. X identified his chief complaints as:

Doctor stressed

Unpredictable schedule

Not profitable

Up and down production

Dr. X retained our Management Service, and our comprehensive Practice Analysis identified several issues:
Summary of our Findings:

Doctor expressed no urgency to treat. Since the schedule appeared to be full for months, many teeth were marked as “Watch”.

Treatment schedule completely booked out for 12+ weeks. While the schedule appeared to be full, the practice production was considerably low for the number of patients of record.

No new patient appointments available for 8 – 9 weeks. The team thought this was acceptable and believed this showed how sought after the doctor was for treatment. Since we know non-emergency patients are willing to wait up to 3-5 days for an appointment, potential patients cancelled or no showed.

Doctor tentative to implement comprehensive treatment. Appointment lengths could be scheduled up to only 1-hour due to the busyness of the schedule. Larger cases had to wait months or schedule on a Saturday.

Emergency patients upset the schedule. There was no reserved time for emergencies thus scheduled patients were left waiting. The team worked late and through lunch many days.

Pre-authorizations filed with insurance but NO financial arrangements completed. The practice did not have written financial protocols.

Poor planning for vacations. While the vacation dates and location were identified, no plans were made for coverage of the practice or how the lost production would be made up elsewhere in the practice.

3 months after our systems were in place:

Doctor production increased 11%

Hygiene production increased 10%

Projected annual production increased $114,000

Appointment Schedule more manageable – Entire Team less stressed.

How did we do it?

Reserved daily blocks in schedule for new patients. The average number of new patients per month was used to determine the number of blocks needed.

Blocked out specific time for major procedures. These blocks were filled with procedures that met specific production criteria.

Determined the number of high production blocks that were not available due to missed production during vacation time. Then, dispersed those pre-block times among the open days.

A written financial protocol was implemented. Financial arrangements were completed as treatment plans were discussed.

Preauthorization of dental benefits were not offered to patients.

Routine treatment procedures (fillings, etc.) were scheduled out 6 -8 weeks, unless doctor identified an urgent need. This opened time for seats, completions, etc.

Daily production goals were set to insure production requirements were met for each provider.

The team concentrated on making each day profitable without compromising quality of care.

The team tracked the numbers and reviewed the progress towards goals daily.

Trained team on the use of benefit statements in helping patients understand the urgency of care.

Would you like a copy of “Using Benefit Statements to Spur Treatment Acceptance”? Contact us at, or call (888) 215-5864 to schedule a complimentary phone appointment.

Jennifer McDonald has been providing management and technology solutions to dentists for over 20 years. She is Managing Partner of Dental Management Advisors, LLC, a dental consulting firm that specializes in assisting dental professionals achieve excellence in leadership and management.