A Quick "To-Do" List for Office Managers in Scheduling Patients Correctly.

As the office manager, it can be difficult to manage the scheduling of appointments in your dental practice. Your staff members are working together to schedule appointments, and you have to address any complaints that may arise from unsatisfied or angry patients. However, you can help organize appointments and optimize the patient scheduling process by following these six tips for how to schedule patients correctly.




1. Automate Patient Registration.

Your patients have busy schedules, no one wants to spend time filling out mindless forms in a waiting room. Instead, automate the patient registration process through the use of digital, electronic patient forms. This is key to improving your time management skills as well.

2. Slightly Overschedule the Number of Patients to Be Seen.

Some patients will cancel, and while you need to create a cancellation policy to address this, you should also have “extra” patients ready to go. In other words, slightly overschedule patients, but keep the overall wait time down to less than 30 minutes. For example, schedule one extra patient per day.

3. Try to Schedule Family Members to Come in Near the Same Time.

When two or more family members have appointments on the same day, they are less likely to cancel them. In addition, you can use this tactic to fill in scheduling gaps that occur if someone does cancel.

4. Create a Working Backup List of Patients to See if Someone Cancels.

Think about the last time a client asked about being seen if “a spot opens up.” You should create a backup list of clients that want to be seen earlier in the month, week or day than their appointments if an appointment space does open. In some cases, you could use automated notifications to communicate with backup patients to let them know a space has opened up.

5. Avoid Duplicity.

There will be times when patients rebook appointments without reason. At other times, you may have patients wanting multiple appointments for different reasons. Avoid duplicity in scheduling appointments, as well as in other office tasks, and if a patient has multiple complaints, consider extending the amount of time blocked for that appointment by 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Limit Daily Self-Pay Appointments.

Self-paying patients are risky. Some patients may not realize they do not have the money to pay for dental services until the day of the appointment, so you should not schedule multiple self-pay appointments close together. For example, you may limit the number of self-pay appointments to one per day. Or, you might ask self-paying patients if they would like to be added to the “backup” list.


To learn more about increasing the efficiency of your practice or electronic dental forms, contact Practice Sense at 1 (800) 619-2955 today or check out our guide on schedule gaps!

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