Patient no shows and cancellations can throw off your entire schedule. While automated reminder calls and missed appointment fees can help reduce the frequency of patient no-shows, occasionally a patient will still cancel at the last minute or fail to show up at all for their appointment. Patient no-shows and cancellations not only affect your bottom line, but they also steal your time. They create gaps in your schedule. One of the best things that you can do to improve your dental practice is to find ways to efficiently use the little blocks of time that suddenly appear in your schedule. With some advanced preparation, you can turn the occasional gap in your schedule into a period of immense productivity.
Create A List of Quick Tasks
One way to take better advantage of your time when you have a patient no-show or a cancellation is to do a handful of administrative tasks that you continually put off because you lack the time. For this to work, you need some advanced preparation. Create a list of things you need to accomplish that you estimate will take somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes to accomplish. It works best if you group the tasks by the amount of time that they will take, and then rank them by their priority. One of the problems with small blocks of time is that it’s easy to waste all of that time just trying to figure out how to fill it. However, if you already have a list of tasks that will take five, ten, or fifteen minutes, you can look at your list and immediately get to work.
Audit Parts of Your Practice
There are thousands of details that go into keeping your dental practice running smoothly. It’s easy to lose sight of some of these details because you constantly have to look at the bigger picture. However, when you find yourself with a block of time due to no-shows or cancellations, you can use that time to audit parts of your practice. Spend fifteen minutes sitting in your waiting room. Get a feel for what how comfortable your chairs are, what the music sounds like, and what the volume of the front office staff is. You could also use a fifteen or twenty-minute block of time to review your schedule for the previous month. How many times do you have missed appointments? What steps could you take to streamline your dental practice schedule? Nobody likes having a patient fail to show up and having to miss out on the exam fee. However, using that time to audit different areas of your practice will give you time to think about the small details that could make your practice even better.
Brainstorm Marketing Ideas
Many dentists hate marketing. They didn’t go into dentistry to be marketers. However, the reality of running your own business is that marketing is required if you want to continue to stay in business. Instead of always putting marketing off until later, use the time created when a patient cancels or fails to show up for an appointment to brainstorm marketing ideas, get in touch with marketing professionals, or approving marketing materials. Many dentists find it much easier to handle marketing tasks when they only have to do so for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. Time is a more precious resource than money. It is always possible for you to make more money. But no matter how talented you are, you can never make more time. Instead of allowing a patient to waste your time when they cancel or fail to show up for an appointment, take advantage of that small block of time, and use it to improve your practice. OmniStar can help you illuminate blind spots in your practice as well. Talk to us today about our Dental Practice Solutions.