Working in the dental field is rewarding! There are endless opportunities to serve people and to change lives one smile at a time. But as a dental professional, you still have to be profitable.
Dentistry has one of the highest overheads in the health industry, and when you add the ever-growing contractual write-offs, profits can quickly dissipate. What if there were a way to increase production without drastically affecting overhead? This can easily be achieved by refocusing the way appointments are scheduled.
A growing trend in dentistry is scheduling for production based on hourly breakdown. This process can be simple to learn, easy to understand, and organizes the mind of the team members when scheduling appointments. Most importantly, scheduling based on hourly production increases the opportunity to achieve the goals set by the practice.
Very often, dentists find themselves on a rollercoaster of production. There are days when a dentist sees what feels like a million patients only to be disappointed by the production number at the end of the day. Then there are those days that seem flawless: production was high, patient load was low, and stress was minimal. What if every day could be like this?
Scheduling based on hourly production might be unfamiliar to you, but there is an average hourly production already occurring in your practice. Here is the simplest way to calculate the current hourly production: Review the last six months of production, one month at a time. Calculate the hours worked by the office each month, and then divide the monthly production by those hours. The number calculated is the average production being scheduled per hour in the practice. (This number can be broken down further into individual providers.)
Next, determine if your current hourly production is appropriate. What is the ideal production per hour? With the overall annual goal of the practice in mind, determine if your current hourly production is appropriate by working backward to make sure your hourly production goal will be sufficient to meet this goal over time.
For an example of how to implement this method into scheduling, look at this scenario. Assume the practice consists of one dentist and one hygienist with a goal of producing one million dollars annually. Both providers work four days per week, eight hours per day and plan to work 200 days this year. This production goal can be turned into a scheduling format by dividing one million dollars by 200 days to equal $5,000 per day. Assuming the hygienist could easily produce $1,000 per day, the dentist would need to produce $4,000 per day. Now take each daily goal and divide it by hours worked. For the dentist, divide $4,000 by eight hours to equal to $500 per hour. For the hygienist, divide $1,000 by eight hours to equal $125 per hour. In this case, the practice should schedule a total of $625 per hour.
Scheduling by hourly production can change the way you practice. Rather than memorizing a template, team members will know where to schedule an appointment by looking at the numbers across the hour on the schedule. Although this requires an adjustment in thinking in the beginning, this type of scheduling will become second nature and easy for all team members to follow. You and your team will enjoy treating patients, changing lives, and hitting production goals one hour at a time!
Note: Now is a great time to update your fees. Get started with a free 10-procedure fee survey for your zip code from the app Practice Mobilizer, available for free in the Apple App and Google Play stores. Or, if you want more in-depth information, you can purchase a full fee survey with more than 600 procedure codes for three zip codes here.
Originally a high school science teacher, Dana Watson is a dental spouse and has been a practicing office administrator for 16 years. She is a speaker, trainer, consultant, and the founder and CEO of Distinction Dental Management Systems. She has the greatest affinity and heart for the dental spouse, which make up the majority of her clients. She is currently managing a two-doctor practice in Nashville, Tennessee, is a member of the ADMC, SCN, and is an AADOM Fellow.
This article originally appeared Tuesday, April 10, 2018, on DentistryIQ. You can view the original article here.