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413: Maximized Appointment Times

Do you find your appointments running over? Or that they just don’t feel productive? Today’s Dental A-Team episode teaches you how to get your patients the best bang for their buck at the dentist’s office. There are two big ways to do this:

  1. Time yourself during appointments to understand how much time they’re actually taking, then find ways to do things more quickly without compromising care.

  2. Find at least one same-day add-on with every patient. These add massive benefits for both parties in the long run!

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Podcast Transcript:

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0:00:05.6 Kiera: Hey everyone, welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I have this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, schedule filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants, so we have traveled over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you... We are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

 

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0:00:51.1 Kiera: Hello Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera, and you guys... Are you ready? Are you ready for this topic because I'm ready for it. I'm sitting here all by myself in my house. Do you know how weird I kind of feel talking to myself? So thanks for being on the other side, so I feel like I'm talking to you through your radio, through your headphones. However you're listening today, I'm talking to you, I'm with you, I'm right there with you. Giving you a high five telling you, like "You've got this, keep going, don't forget how incredible you are. Don't forget how amazing you are. Keep rocking it out, because guess what? I think sometimes we forget how great we are, so keep it up." Alright, today's topic is going to be on how to maximize appointment times. Yep, super exciting. I hope you're all ready for it. No, I love this topic, so don't even roll your eyes with me. I'm right here with you. I'm in the car, I'm saying, "Hey, listen up, this is gonna change your world." When you maximize an appointment time, guess what? Your patient experience is better, your practice experience is better, and overall everybody is happier together.

 

0:01:52.8 Kiera: So, listen up. If I haven't already won you over, get ready to be dazzled. So I think you can maximize appointment times in one of two ways. One way is actually knowing how much time you need to have for an appointment. You guys... Tiffany and I and Brittany, our consulting team, we have saved so many offices, so much time on their appointments by one, teaching the assistants how to actually assist stronger, how to clean as they go, so that way they can shorten their appointment times and see more patients and help more people in a more productive way. I don't know if you count the numbers, but let's just say we're able to shave off five or 10 minutes per appointment per day for you, think of how many more patients you could see, that is just by being efficient with your time. So I think that that is a huge way to maximize your appointment time. Now to do that, I recommend you guys, you can find these little cubes on Amazon, they light up, they're really cool, but you can literally flip it so when the doctor comes in, you can flip it, so you can actually see how long that appointment takes.

 

0:02:46.0 Kiera: Or you can also, or/and, choose whatever you want, you can also make sure on your appointment schedule, that you drag the appointments to the most appropriate time, so we can actually see how long each procedure is taking. Some are shorter, some are longer. But do that over the course of two weeks, and you're going to be able to actually see how much time each procedure actually takes you. In doing so, you're gonna be able to schedule smarter, schedule more strategically, and be able to maximize every one of those appointments to their fullest. So if you have not done that or it's been a while since you've actually timed yourself, time yourself, see how long it takes. Every doctor is different. Every procedure is a little bit different. Time it. Get that timer, flip it over in the rooms, see how long it takes for a doctor, how long it takes for assistants. Assistants, time yourself as well. How long does it take you to do a temporary? How long does it take you to do a scan? How long does it take you to do a, gosh, impressions? Any of those things, time yourself and get quicker with it, because that's how you can maximize a patient's time and also your schedule. We only have so much time in our day, so why don't we maximize it? If we're gonna be at work anyway, let's help as many patients as we possibly can, with the best dentistry.

 

0:03:56.3 Kiera: So if you don't know how to scan, hygienists, you can do the same thing, practice, so you can maximize those appointment times. So many hygienists tell me, "Kiera, there's no way I can do an iTero scan." And I say, "Well, if you say that you're gonna make yourself right. How about we put it on there that you at least do one scan per week, and you just shave off 30 seconds per scan every single time and see if you could get down to say, 10 minutes or seven minutes or five minutes per scan, practice on each other. There's down time, guys, if you want it bad enough. If I told you I'm gonna pay you a million dollars, if you can get your scan down to seven minutes, would you do it?" I know every single one of you just said yes to me. So if a million dollars is on the line, you know you could do it. So it's a matter of finding the time to do it. If I were to tell you, I'm gonna pay you a million dollars... Guys, I don't have a million dollars, so don't think this is real. But let's pretend I was Bill Gates and I could pay you a million dollars 'cause you're not my children, you're not my family, I could pay you.

 

0:04:52.8 Kiera: Or I am... Warren Buffet. There we go. Okay, I'm gonna pay you a million dollars if you could do a crown prep in 30 minutes that was perfect. Now, I'm not saying to do bad dentistry. What I am saying to do is, "Can you... Can you refine your skills just a little bit, maybe 10% better", and you did that month over month over month, there will come a time where you will plateau, period. I know that there will be a moment, but at the same time, why don't we try. Why don't we try and expand the limits. Why don't we try to see we could do. Assistants, see if you can flip a room a little bit faster. See if you can do a crown seal a little bit quicker without compromising care. That's the keyword. Without compromising care. You have to have the best patient care, otherwise, forget it. Don't do it. But guess what? I know you can do it. I know you can, so try it out. Look for one area where you guys are really slow. For me, it was temporaries, oh, temporaries. I was terrible. Truth. So I had to practice it. Guys, I had to go make a dental stone model, make a temporary and practice on it with a cheap temporary material.

 

0:06:01.7 Kiera: I did not enjoy doing it. But I got faster and faster and faster. I practiced, just like I hated playing the piano when I was a kid, I hated practicing my guitar, but practice helps us become faster. Practice helps us become better, and if we put a timer on ourself, we can actually see how fast we can do it. Guys, if you're making a temp on a stone model, guess what? Set that timer for five minutes and see if you could get done in five minutes, just see... See if it's even possible, it might look like straight up dirt, it might look terrible. But guess what? If you did that every single day for the next month, I promise you that temp would get faster and faster and faster. I promise you it would. So take this on. This is how you're gonna be able to maximize appointments. That's side one of the coin.

 

0:06:39.4 Kiera: How many of you have wished that there was an easy way to get that Dang Operations Manual done? Well, guess what, we are here to deliver. That's right, join us Friday, September 17th for our Operations Manual creation. That's right, we are literally going to walk you and your team through step-by-step workshop style, it's virtual, and you're gonna get that Operations Manual started and quite a few pieces completed. So join us on Friday, September 17th, utilize our coupon code, PODCASTOPS, that's podcast O-P-S, head on over to thedentalateam.com/events. I cannot wait to see you. Let's get that operations manual done, done and done, bring your entire team, and I'll see you guys there.

 

0:07:24.6 Kiera: Side two of the coin of maximizing appointment times is you guys literally just look, look in that appointment time and see what you can do to add massive value to your patients. Do we have extra treatment that wouldn't take more time. Did we check our comp exam frequencies? Are we taking our x-rays at their intervals? I can tell you how many times people are not doing this, so they're not maximizing their appointments. Oh, it makes my heart sick when I have a patient who comes in to get a filling done, they walk up to front and they schedule back for a filling in the same quad. Quadrant dentistry, quads guys, do it, schedule it, find ways to get your patients to say yes. Help them realize, I might say I wanna do one tooth at a time. Do you realize the time, effort and energy to come in for one tooth at a time?

 

0:08:11.1 Kiera: Let me find a better solution. We're gonna help you financially. Let's figure out what we can do. So you can come in and get that quadrant dentistry done, plus it's gonna be better dentistry. You're going to get better results. You know that, I know that, we've gotta help our patients see that. Also schedulers, please, please, please, for the love of every single thing, please schedule according to blocks, schedule according to production goals and be okay to tell patients, "Hey, our doctor loves to do fillings at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, which works best for you? Well, I really like to do it at 8 o'clock. Absolutely, I totally understand that. Just so you know our doctor say that they do better, if they do it at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, and I know you want the best treatment, so let's schedule you 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock, which works best, I'm happy to accommodate. Do you want a Monday or a Tuesday, which works best for you?"

 

0:08:56.0 Kiera: You guys have a fantastic schedule for your schedule, make sure that your doctors are doing a great job. If they have the best schedule, they're gonna do better dentistry and your patients will be happier. Please, guys, for every schedulers, you can make or break an office, you really can. You can make the life amazing, or you can make it awful, and with your simple words, you can have a patient love going in a certain spot, or you can have them hate going in a certain spot, it's up to you. So I really think number one, go and start timing yourselves. Go time to see how long does it take you to do appointments, stretch the schedule, so we have correct appointment time, so we know how much time it really takes us to schedule. If you guys need to do X's and slashes where are doctors, where are assistants at. This way we can double book appointments side by side and maximize our doctor, so that way they're always... They're always spinning that drill.

 

0:09:46.0 Kiera: Everybody, time yourself just a little bit and see if you could maybe shave off a minute or two, here or there again, you guys have heard me, I'm gonna be a broken record, without compromising any dentistry. I am in the business of making the best offices better because I am on a moral mission to stop bad dentistry. So do not create a bad dentistry, but look to see how you could maybe do that temporary just a little bit quicker. How you could do that crown prep just a little bit differently.

 

0:10:12.0 Kiera: Maybe you guys take a course on how to do a one-hour molar endo root canal and crown build up. There's a great guy, his name's Aaron Nicholas out of Maryland, and he does an amazing course on the one hour molar endo build up crown. Awesome, take the course, if you're not fast at endo, take the course. You guys there's CE all around you to help you with these procedures, just be a little bit quicker and more efficient. It doesn't mean you're compromising your dentistry, it just means you're learning how to do it better ways. And then when patients are coming in, how can you maximize it? I challenge every clinical team member to look for one same day add on every single day. One, what could it be? Could it be fluorides, could you add sealants, could you add an extra filling in the same quadrant, what can you do to maximize that patient, could you scan them for a night guard or ortho or lightning trace today. Why not?

 

0:11:01.3 Kiera: Have you talked to your patients about whitening? Guys, it's almost coming up on the holidays, they could whiten their teeth for the holidays. Look for different ways to maximize that patient when they're in your chair. I believe that that's the best dentistry. I believe those are the best practices because you really do get to maximize those patients, so that way their time is valuable and your time is valuable. And then for an office, schedule smart. Get the stupid out of the scheduling, smart schedule. Look to see how you can have your doctor always spinning their hand piece, so that way you're maximizing in your scheduling side by side. Don't start your day with fillings unless your doctor loves it. Usually be like a high production in the morning, that's a crown, that's an implant, that's a root canal crown build up, something high productive in the morning and be great with your words, help your patients realize. Absolutely, I know you love that. Our doctor loves to do their fillings at this time or this time, which works best for you. Guys don't open the conversation and say, "Hey, what day works best for you? What time works best for you?"

 

0:12:00.0 Kiera: You just walk yourself into ruining their expectations if you cannot offer that. You offer the time that's best for your schedule and have them fit in within your schedule. Your patients will be happier, your doctor will be happier, your team will be happier, and you'll be able to maximize your appointment times. If you guys have better, not better, if you have other ideas, be sure to share them with us, [email protected] I will share, I will read things, I won't say your names unless you want me to, of just great ideas. You guys, please go onto our Facebook group, I would love to hear from you there, I pop in there, I pop in on our emails, I read your reviews, guys, I would love to hear from you, so let me know how you are planning to maximize your appointment times. Email me [email protected] As always, guys, love you guys so much. Appreciate you listening and I'll catch you next time on The Dental A Team podcast.

 

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0:12:48.0 Kiera: Alright, Dental A Team listeners, that's a wrap. Thank you so much for listening and if you love today's Podcast, go leave us a review. It takes you five seconds and your review helps more offices, more practices, more team members, just like you find out about The Dental A Team. Thank you guys so much for being part of my Dental A Team family.

 

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