Dental Practice Management - Importance of Appointments

Dental Practice management is a broad topic that includes setting up a dental clinic, hiring of adequate number of staffs that are well versed with the work they are supposed to do in an efficient manner and in perfect harmony to increase the net revenue of the clinic, materials supply management, patients' record management, patients' appointment management, cashflow management and many more. Let's discuss about the importance of appointments for better efficiency and maximizing the revenue in least possible chairside time.

Not every dentist is well acquainted with the managerial skills that is necessary to run a dental clinic. Some acquire it naturally on the go after establishing a dental clinic and some struggle for years due to lack of the skill and experience too many patients in some particular days and not a single patient some unfortunate day. More often than not, once a dental clinic is well-established and with good track record of providing good dental care, there will be problem of having too many patients rather than having too few patients. This is where the one aspect of dental practice management - Appointment system becomes of paramount importance. 

Though, it seems cumbersome to keep records of appointment time and follow that strictly, it has infinite perks. Some advantages of keeping strict patient appointments are:

A. You can give enough time to each patient. You need not hurry that there are too many patients at  a particular time. Your workload is relatively constant at a pace you have set for yourself. The inter-patient time gap is minimized and patients examined/treated per unit time rises several folds. 

B. You can set different time hours for different types (age groups/profession)   of patients and prepare your instruments for the same. Charging a bit more for treatment provided during off-hours for employed patients who cannot take a leave is not unethical at all. You provide a great value of service and get increased return for yourself. 

C. You can reduce the number of staffs and Dental Chairs required as per the workload and minimize unnecessary expenditure. False indication of patient overload and temptation to add another dental chair and dentist is also avoided. Adding up dental chairs and dentists without actually having sufficient patients all the time would be hazardous to your practice and sometimes you have to sell the equipments at a great loss or downsize on staffs.

D. Better Patient Care: Each patient feels that he is important for you because you have set a separate time for him. Your dedication to him and meticulous clinical care will make you a trustworthy clinician for him.

E. You can actually reduce the clinic opening hours. When you figure out the number of patients coming everyday, you can set your opening hours as per the requirement. 

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