How to Set Up the Dental Office Schedule For Opening Back Up

Wow that elevated quickly, didn’t it?  One week we are up and running with a very successful start of the year and the next week we are closed and not seeing any patients or very few, depending on the practice. None of us saw it coming and many decisions had to be made quickly.  We have hopefully moved through the hard part and it is time to start planning the re-opening of our offices.  Unlike shutting down, we have time to plan for that.  I have outlined 6 things that we can plan for now to help with re-opening our offices.  

Here’s 6 Schedule Tips You MUST Consider Before Business Returns to Normal: Part 1

  1. This is a perfect time to implement block scheduling aka productive scheduling. Start with team training on how to build a productive schedule. Then start blocking the schedule so that when the practice opens again, there are blocks in the schedule waiting for productive appointments that will help get to the daily goal faster.  We also want to block the schedule for important things like: new patient appointments, emergencies, time for team training, meetings, etc. Whatever it is that the practice may have problems getting into the schedule, we want to make sure that there are blocks for those.
2. The next thing we want to do is plan for those emergencies, cancellations and no shows, because we’re going to have them.  We’re going to have people who aren’t going to be comfortable coming to the dentist yet or don’t have the financial means to come back to the dentist because they have other priorities. They’re going to get busy with work again or they may have young kids at home and they have to cancel their appointment. They may also be small business owners that need to get back to work too. There are going to be more cancellations in our schedule and we need to plan for it.
3. The next step is to empty out our quick fill or ASAP lists right now. I talk about this in general, anyway, but I would say it even more so right now.  Most of the time, our ASAP list or quick fill list is just a dumping zone where we just put appointments that are cancelled and no one really uses it for its intention. It’s even worse now because it’s been sitting there and not called on and not managed or taken care of for weeks. The reason I suggest this is because the idea behind these lists are to quickly fill or to find patients to get in as soon as possible. My suggestion is to clean it out right now and start using it for patients who want to come in sooner rather than later. This way when we do get a last-minute cancellation, we can go to this quick fill list and either send a text message or call them to try to quickly fill the appointment.


Make sure to come back next week for part 2, and join us for our weekly webinar series. We want to make sure dental teams are using this time wisely and preparing for a re-open.

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